Emission Control Regulations Drive Innovations in Aircraft Ground Support Equipment

Owing to the intense scrutiny that the entire aviation industry undergoes in regards to safety and security, regulatory authorities are constantly working to implement improved guidelines, towards the development of new processes and technologies. This is one of the primary drivers that are influencing the evolution of the global aircraft ground support equipment market.

With increasing airport facilities for consumers and airlines, ground support equipment such as belt conveyors, boarding stairs, passenger buses, pushback tractors, catering trucks, portable floodlights, container loaders, de-icing vehicles, baggage carts, sling cables and more are expected to display a steady rate of growth.

Increased Focus on Acquiring ‘Greener’ Ground Support Equipment

Higher awareness about environmental concerns, are creating a steady requirement for greener variants of aircraft ground support equipment (AGSE), primarily those variants that are complaint with the local emission norms. Other improvements such as the replacement of liquid paints with powder coating, and designs that use recycled components, and designs that provide improved portability are some of the changes that are increasingly being adopted by aircraft ground support equipment producers around the globe.

For example, the Bahrain Airport Services Company announced its plans of transitioning to greener operations, to cut its adverse impact on the environment. One of its key focuses is on acquiring new ground support equipment, which will be powered by solar energy, or electricity, while simultaneously replacing diesel and petrol powered fleets in the next 5 years.

Also newer aircraft are increasingly making use of composite materials instead of aluminum. While this kind of material provides improved aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, they are damaged more easily and such damage is difficult to detect. As a result, newer versions of ground support equipment such as cargo loaders are fitted with sensitive pressure sensors that can alert users if excessive force is being used by the machines when docked against the aircraft.

Flux Power Holdings Inc., has also revealed its range of lithium ion batteries that are gaining application in newer aircraft ground support equipment such as electric forklifts and tractors, which are aimed primarily towards the replacement of traditional lead batteries, significantly reducing the environment impact of these machines and automobiles.

Camso has also revealed new pneumatic tires that are designed for the use of ground support equipment such as baggage tractors, tow tractors and more. The design of these new tires is claimed to double the life of treads, while improving on stability and energy efficiency of the equipment by around 10%, through an innovative ribbed profile which boosts even distribution of heat and friction.

Used and Refurbished Ground Support Equipment Gain Popularity; Businesses also Leverage Leasing Services

With the growing trend of modernization by all major airlines and fixed base ground support operators, there is a growing need to find buyers for the old equipment that is being replaced. AGSE businesses help such companies to find buyers, while at the same time providing lease and finance solutions to get rid of old equipment.

AGSE businesses are also paying attention to refurbishing old equipment to maximize lifespan, and add upgrades that will help in keeping up with the competition, while making significant savings in the costs, that would go for buying completely new equipment.

The main aim of any ground support equipment operator is to maximize the profitability of the operations, while constantly meeting the new standards being brought about by technological upgrades. This creates severe financial constraints on fixed base ground support operators to purchase new equipment regularly, consequently pushing them towards leasing such equipment instead.

On a similar note, the London Luton Airport is now making us of a revolutionary system of collective pooling of ground support equipment such as aircraft stairs, cones, and belt loaders among others. This move is expected to save costs, reduce congestion, and boost aircraft turnaround, reducing delays overall.

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