Rushlift GSE, a specialist airport ground support equipment and services provider, has won a 56-month extension to its successful, long-running GSE contract with Europe’s leading short-haul airline, easyJet.
The new multi-million pound deal continues an existing five-year agreement with Rushlift GSE to supply, manage and maintain easyJet’s ground-handling fleet at London’s Gatwick Airport, the low-cost carrier’s largest and busiest base with around 210 departures a day at peak.
In total over 570 ground support assets will be managed by Rushlift GSE under a progressive program of innovation and equipment enhancement, which includes an on-going transition from diesel to electric vehicles. As part of this program Rushlift is in the process of introducing eight Mallaghan bendi-belts, an advanced electric powered baggage conveyor that has the ability to bend through 90 degrees, delivering bags deep into the baggage hold. The investment will help to reduce turn-around times, ease demands on staff and reduce manual handling strain.
As under the existing contract, Rushlift GSE will supply, maintain and support a wide variety of vehicles of different manufacture, along with related handling equipment – from TLD push-back tugs, TBL tractors, electric baggage tugs and baggage carts, to steps, low loaders, belt loaders, ground power units and vans. During the course of 2022 Rushlift supplied easyJet with over 100 additional items of GSE. All vehicles will be regularly serviced under a set maintenance regime, with fast, on-site breakdown response and support.
In line with the expansion of Rushlift GSE’s Gatwick operations the business has opened a new 36,000 sq. ft. service center and workshop close to the airside access gates.
“Our business demands a keen focus on cost and efficiency – and a fast turn-around of aircraft on the ramp is absolutely critical to our success,” says Dan Chapman, regional operations and contracts manager, at easyJet. “Over the last five years, Rushlift GSE has proved to be a highly dependable partner, providing us with reliable and efficient ground support equipment and helping us to meet our sustainability targets through a structured transition to electric GSE vehicles. This has given us every confidence to extend our close working arrangement for a further 56 months.”
Tim Willett, general manager at Rushlift GSE, commented: “We are delighted that easyJet has chosen to endorse our close working relationship by extending our contract. With 75% of easyJet’s ground support fleet now electric, we look forward to continuing to support the business in completing its transition to electric powered GSE equipment. And with the opening of our new maintenance and workshop facilities at Gatwick, we’re offering our continued commitment to providing the high level of service and support expected by one of the industry’s leading airlines.”
In 2017 easyJet took the unprecedented step of deciding to lease ground support equipment directly, through Rushlift GSE, and bring in contractors that would supply labor resources only. This was a radical move and a first for the sector. The initiative was recognized at the 2018 International Airport Review Awards, taking the trophy for Airside Operations.