The Ramp Revolution

GSE managers are feeling more and more pressure to replace old, fossil fueled units with clean, green electric.

Pushbacks are not the only piece of the green ramp revolution. Electric lavatory service trucks are also sneaking their way into the fiscal budgets of airlines, especially, at regional airlines where 40-50 RJ’s need quick service in one shift, on a single charge. Today technology exists which not only provides enough battery run-time to work a large fleet of aircraft, but these vehicles can travel to and from the waste areas, quickly and at high speeds.

Several suppliers have introduced hybrid vehicles to the marketplace. Hybrid will soon serve a niche at airports in North America as it has in Europe. A customer’s ramp to bag room or outdoor to indoor operating ratio must be determined to maximize a diesel/electric hybrid’s performance. At this moment, the best fit for a hybrid tractor is long mail or cargo runs. While hybrid technology has arrived, it may only be an intermediate step. As Hydrogen fuel cells become more compact and affordable they will surely become more prevalent. The possible challenge here is the availability of Hydrogen infrastructure on the port.

In conclusion, airlines, ground handlers and cargo carriers continue to bounce back financially. It will be the supplier’s duty to inform and educate the customer on every level regarding the availability, as well as the features and benefits of all new technology — especially alternative fuels.

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