Ground support equipment (GSE) maintenance shops continue to face challenges spurred by global supply chain constraints. These factors have made the availability of parts and components challenging and have influenced the price of these items.
“Everything takes longer and costs more, it seems,” says Chris Schaeffer, vice president of GSE at GAT Airline Ground Support. “That does influence getting our equipment back into service.”
According to Schaeffer, out-of-service units may need to be extended while supply chain disruptions impact maintenance needs. That, in turn, negatively impacts budgets.
“But we make it work,” Schaeffer says.
Fortunately, the quality of GSE parts and components has remained similar, Schaeffer observes, adding some suppliers have higher quality than others.
Ultimately, Schaeffer says he is optimistic that the pandemic’s effect on the supply chain is waning.
“For hard parts, it seems to be getting better every day, and aviation is a resilient business,” Schaeffer says. “There will be a new normal, but not far from what we knew.”
As supply chain complications improve, the opportunity to repair and refurbish ground support equipment presents itself.
“Factory fresh machines are taking much longer than it once did,” Schaeffer says. “I think that’s a blend of part availability – in that one part can stop a machine from being built – and a lack of people to work at the factories building them.
“We are looking deeper at repairing, refreshing (and) restoring our older fleet equipment,” Schaeffer adds. “It’s case by case, but doing it in house saves time and has given us better control of the finished product.”