TLD: From Silkweaving to GSE

Starting as a silk weaving business, TLD has now become a worldwide global leader in the airport ground support equipment market.

In reality, in 1993 the group was a melting pot of different histories, cultures and people. TLD had to create unity, to define a structure and to develop the basic rules to help everybody work together. This third phase took about two years. Many meetings and discussions were held, some managers left the group and new ones joined TLD. In early 1994, TLD started to use e-mails and the Internet to better communicate and exchange engineering resources.

1995: The first Development

All of TLD was now ready to work as a team. TLD made significant investment in research and development beginning in 1995. Examples of new products include the successful TRACMA towbarless tractor line, the new generation LANTIS loaders, the ERMA jumbo loader contract, ACE’s continuous improvement in ACUs and jet start units and the ALBRET new stairs generation.

But TLD is also an industrial group with factories. The size of the ERMA facility more than doubled in late 1994. The Taiwan facility was significantly improved in 1996 and TLD opened a new facility in Shanghai in 1997. Major upgrades also occurred at the ACE and LANTIS facilities.

1998: management crisis

Because of poor leadership, the young management team of TLD Group exploded in 1998 and about 12 key executives left the group in 1998 and 1999. It is important to note that they all returned to TLD between 1999 and 2003 after this sudden but short crisis was over.

9/11 and a good recovery

The 9/11 events were terrible for the GSE industry. TLD decided to go though the crisis with industrial restructuring, but still keeping resources strong to support the customers and develop new products. In 2002, the original brand names were abandoned and the whole group started using the TLD banner, which helped with recognition in the market.

The service network, TLD’s tool to keep in constant and close contact with its customers, has expanded since 1997 and now has 18 locations around the world. Since 2002, the TLD group has grown at an average rate of 25 to 30 percent.

TLD, with its multicultural culture, has entered the new millennium as a global company, a leader on the worldwide GSE market and offers its customers a complete range of equipment, designed and manufactured in its six facilities and supported by the most comprehensive and dedicated service and sales network.

Company Chronicles is a new monthly column in Ground Support magazine. If you would like to see your company’s history featured in this column, please e-mail your story and contact information to

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