Editor's Note

Michelle GaretsonThere's a new business model emerging, not just for the airlines, but for ground support and ground handling as well. As the major airlines are setting their courses on how best to navigate the sea of red ink brought on by potential and real bankruptcies, labor issues, and contagious diseases; the new (and not so new) low-cost carriers such as the Southwests and the JetBlues are making the news, as well as their numbers, by providing what customers want - basic transportation for a relatively low price. While the majors probably should not and will not abandon the whole hub and spoke model as well as their international routes, they will need to address how best to deliver some low-cost offerings. But how? Outsourcing of services such as ground handling and equipment maintenance has become more prevalent in the effort to shore up sagging bottom lines. The trend shown by airlines wishing to eliminate services in favor of hiring companies that can provide those same services looks to continue.

Another way could be through the standardization of aircraft fleets - something the ground support equipment purchasers, GSE maintenance personnel, and ground services providers have been wishing for for a long time.

While aviation will never cease to exist totally, it is well known that as airlines go, so goes ground support. Whatever course back to profitability the airlines choose remains to be seen, but it is certain that they will have to plot a more efficient and focused route.

The 2003 Worldwide Directory of Ground Support Manufacturers, Suppliers, and Ground Handlers that you are now reading reflects that shift to a leaner, more focused product. This year's version includes many on the mergers and acquisitions' merry-go-round, and believe me, we had to stay on our toes! Some companies have changed names since last year, some added "a division of" to their titles, and some, sadly, are no longer in the industry. However, there is some new blood with the addition of new companies, which is encouraging.

Each year, we are told by readers that this Directory is the one issue that is always in their briefcase or on the desk or bench. It is considered as a valuable resource used to contact others in the industry for ground support goods and services.

Knowing that, what makes compiling this issue so difficult is having to practically beg for information that will appear in the publication for free. I have heard excuses that run from "We're too busy to respond to your request" to "We have no budget left for the rest of year." That last one gets me. What kind of budget do you need for a free listing?

Ground Support Magazine is the resource for the aviation ground support industry and we are determined to help your operations be as successful as possible - but you have to help yourself as well. Yes, times have been tough and are tough right now but you need to be open to creating opportunities to help turn things around. You can start this process by sending us an email or product release and by always responding to free listing opportunities from our editorial department to become a part of this valuable industry resource.

Thanks for reading.

Michelle Garetson

Michelle Garetson's Signature