If It's Tuesday, It Must Be GPU Day

Attending inter airport Europe reminds me of those whirlwind tours of Europe that whisk Americans from Paris to Brussels to Dsseldorf until everything becomes a dizzying blur of, in our case, deicers, belt loaders, GPUs and the like.

Want to see a three-wheeled tow tractor? You got it. How about a cargo loader fueled with hydrogen? You bet. In the market for streamlined snow removal trucks? It’s on the left and all the way back. An electric-powered highloader? Don’t tell me you missed that. It’s the only one of its kind.

Although the big draw is the sheer amount of equipment, a trade show also serves as an industry checkup. And as far as our industry goes, I can tell you that this year’s show featured more GSE.

The show had been holding steady at attracting an overall total of 600 exhibitors. But this year’s show featured 20 percent more outside exhibit space. To Show Director Nicola Hamann that only means one thing:

“This is clearly GSE-related because no one will go outside with an IT solution or terminal furniture,” she told Airport Focus in an interview conducted a week before the show opened on Oct. 8.

In fact, the GSE exhibits have turned into one of the most significant areas of growth for the show.

“We have a unique outdoor area for people to display heavy-duty equipment such as snow plows and deicing machinery, and I think this is really a big draw,” she added. “We didn’t used to see an awful lot of activity in this area, but now I think it has really picked up. This has a lot to do with investment cycles for new equipment that represent large capital investments for airports.”

A few other thoughts on the show:

Where’s the money going? According to research from ACI Europe, five airports in emerging markets with more than 40 million passengers reported double-digit growth rates in 2012. These airports are Istanbul (21 percent); Dubai (13 percent); Jakarta (12 percent); Bangkok (11 percent) and Singapore (10 percent). In contrast, airports reporting from Europe and North America overall eked out a 1.7 percent and a 1.2 percent growth rate, respectively.

Then again ... The United States represents the single largest market for airport airside services as stated by a new research report. We’d tell you more, but the full report costs $4,950.

Innovators aren’t waiting for the “right” time. The show’s Innovation Awards program featured 89 entries.

What’s more, the ramp category at 33 had the most products - more than double the second-highest category for the terminal.

By the way, GSE maker Denge Airport Equipment, Istanbul, Turkey, won the most innovative ramp product for its EAV4500 or “Ambulift.” As the name implies, the vehicle is designed to transport passengers who require a high degree of medical care.

So growth and innovation are ours.