The History Of Ground Support Equipment

Ground Support Worldwide turns 20 years old with this issue. With one birthday in mind, we decided to take a look at many more GSE birthdays and celebrate some of the names behind the brand-names.


Alan J. Janis and Bruce K. Wayne open J&B Aviation Services Inc. The company initially capitalizes on its design for 400 Hz cable assembly, but expands extensively into other GSE, including PCA, baggage chutes and air-starts.

The Northwestern Motor Co. buys Wollard Airport Equipment Co.’s broad line of GSE. In 2000, the company becomes known as NMC-Wollard.

FMC buys Jetway Systems, the original creator of apron drive passenger boarding bridges, and the world’s leading manufacturer of boarding bridges, solid state 400Hz inverters and fixed PCA. FMC also bolsters its airport equipment division with the acquisition of Trump deicers.

Metroplex Conveyor & Services begins fabricating and installing safety/maintenance and production platforms, and modifying and servicing machinery for the bakery and food industry as well as luggage conveyor systems inside airports. As a result of this last relationship, Metroplex develops a PCA hose trolley system that continues to be a large part of the company’s business.

Lektro introduces two new electric vehicles, one for the military and the other for commercial aviation.

Air T buys the Simon Deicer division from Terex and subsequently renames the company Global Ground Support LLC.

The first hybrid-electric tow tractor is tested at the North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado, CA. The ISE Research ThunderVolt hybrid tractor used an Entwistle Co. MB-4 tow tractor chassis, and was the first of three such tractors placed into service with the United States Air Force and United States Navy .

1999 – Thyssen AG and Krupp merge to form ThyssenKrupp.

2000 – Illinois Tool Works creates the ITW GSE Ground Services division, which brings together Hobart Ground Power, AXA Power, Trilectron Industries and Air-a-Plane and J&B Aviation.

2001 – Cygnus Business Media buys GSE Today and renames it Ground Support and later Ground Support Worldwide.

FMC Airport Systems re-enters the military market with the design and development of the Halvorsen loader, selected by the USAF to replace all its existing 25K cargo loaders.

2006 – ColumbusJACK acquires Regent Manufacturing.

2008 – John Bean Technologies Corporation (JBT Corporation) is formed, and becomes a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange. FMC Airport Services becomes JBT AeroTech.

2009 – Velcon founder Lu Taylor’s son, Dave, and grandson, Chase, sell company and launch Petroleum Equipment Aviation Refueling.

2012 – Lektro delivers its 3,700 towbarless tractor to DTW.

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