Direct from Inter Airport — Outlook 2006

I had the pleasure to speak with many GSE manufacturers, suppliers and distributors in Munich. Following is their take on the show and a brief industry outlook for 2006.


Safegate unveiled a preview of its new generation visual docking guidance system at Inter Airport. It felt this was an ideal venue to generate some focus group type of feedback from its customers, agents and consultants, and it was not disappointed. “We were pleased by both the enthusiasm our audience showed for the expanded capabilities and with the quality of comments and suggestions we received,” says Tom Duffy, owner.

Development of the new Safedock T1, as the system is known, is now in its final stages using focus group feedback garnered at Inter Airport and key customer meetings. Production is scheduled to begin in the 2nd quarter of 2006. On the airfield lighting side of its business it was promoting the turnkey applications for the Airfield Smart Power (ASP) technology by displaying “Stop Bars in a Box.” According to Duffy, with runway incursions back on the rise it wants airports to know that there are practical and effective solutions available for installation today. There is no need to test fate while waiting for the technologies of the future, such as ASDE-X, to work out its problems.

“Overall, and despite the dismal financial state of the industry, it was quite apparent to us that there is money available and interest for reliable technologies that will increase safety and efficiency on the airfield,” says Duffy.

SAGE Parts

“A great show and well attended, we met with an equal number of existing and new customers. Most of them are our international customers who you don’t get to see as often so it’s good to reaffirm relationships with them. We’re talking about expanding our role with them and doing additional types of parts trade and it was good to see these overgrown tractors and other things to service the A380. To me it all just represents opportunity,” says Michael Bloomfield, president.

As for 2006, Sage is looking for growth to come from outside the US, in Europe and Asia. It experienced such dramatic growth year after year that its numbers in the US for 2005 have been quite impressive. But growth outside of the US was phenomenal in 2005 and Bloomfield suspects that it will only get better in 2006.

Bloomfield believes the industry will always be affected by fuel as long as the airlines have an inability to raise the price of their product. What goes on in the airline industry is unnatural and as long as cost continues to climb, they’re always going to have trouble.

Schopf

For Schopf, the fair has shown and proven that projects, which have been postponed in the past several years are going ahead and it expects positive movement in 2006. “We are very proud that we could present the F396 tow tractor on our stand for the A380. This tow tractor has been proven worldwide and convinced the customer CASL in Hong Kong to procure one, as many other customers did already,” says Dr. Hermann Brüggemann, managing director.

The major concern about the future, according to its customers, is the cost and reliability of the ground support equipment, in particular tow tractors. According to Schopf, the life cycle cost is becoming the most decisive driving factor for the equipment. In general, the main subject is the A380 which influenced the Inter Airport in Munich heavily. More than 20 units are already in operation worldwide — “a simple and most reliable as well as economical solution for moving the A380 on the ground.”

Thyssen Krup

Inter Airport 2005 has been a very valuable and remarkable experience for ThyssenKrupp Airport Systems. It gave them the opportunity to provide a showcase on the boarding solutions conceived, developed and installed all over the world by ThyssenKrupp, especially those related to the new Airbus A380.

Thyssen Krup was also delighted to welcome so many representatives of the Russian Airports Association, with prestigious airports such as Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo.

It looks forward to continued growth and satisfying the needs of the airports in 2006.

TLD

The 2005 Munich show went very well for TLD. “The attendance was great this year and we saw many customers from all continents at our booth,” says Antoine Maguin, COO. TLD had only one piece of equipment exhibited, the TPX-500-MTS, a maintenance tow tractor able to tow aircraft up to the A380 at high speeds.

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