For busy airports with not a lot of room to maneuver, runway incursions involving ground equipment happen all too frequently. While most do not cause significant injuries or damage to aircraft or the ground equipment involved, they do often result in operational delays that can be expensive in and of themselves.
Clearly, if a runway incursion requires a go-around, there are added fuel costs and the costs inherent in delayed schedules. But even when no go-around results, there are certainly reams of paperwork to be filled out and questions to be answered by everyone involved.
Of course, runway incursions always carry the risk of something more catastrophic – an actual collision with an aircraft. So avoiding these incursions has been a priority for the FAA, airport operators and, of course, GSE operators and the airlines. For years, people have talked about using GPS for the purpose of preventing ground support equipment from entering controlled areas without authorization.
Now, Logan International Airport is using GPS to monitor ground support equipment on the airport operations area. This promises to be a real time system for tracking ground equipment and may prove to be an invaluable piece of the ongoing attempts to prevent runway incursions.