The rise of Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Pooling

Airport apronThe pressure on ground handling procedures has never been greater. As airport traffic rises and passengers’ demands for a stress-free, on-time performance grow, airports and ground handlers must take steps to ensure that their services are effective, as well as cost and capacity efficient.

Damage caused to aircraft during ground handling is reported to cost airlines nearly $4 billion annually.  Staggeringly, the total cost to the aviation industry globally is thought to be more than double that figure, according to a recent report by International Airport Review. To begin to reduce this cost to the aviation industry, IATA has recently introduced Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Standards that require the fitting of proximity sensing and warning systems to GSE.

One way to create more effective and efficient ground handling procedures is Ground Support Equipment Pooling, or GSE Pooling. This is a collective initiative for the pooling of equipment in airports that is becoming more and more popular worldwide, with London Luton being the latest airport to start using the initiative to increase efficiency and reduce cost.

The GSE pooling programme for London Luton Airport, which was launched in April 2017 in collaboration with the airport’s two ground handling agents, Menzies and Swissport, and equipment provider TCR, is a global first on its scale, according to the airport.  The initiative will reduce congestion on the stand and lead to greater efficiency in aircraft turnaround.

What are the benefits of Ground Support Equipment Pooling?

Ground Support Equipment is the equipment necessary to service and maintain aircraft at terminals. Conventionally, these are all owned or leased by the individual ground handlers with contracts to various airlines. Every contractor owns and stores the necessary equipment to do their job for each airline. However, due to differing peak requirements from airlines and handlers, this can lead to more GSE being stored around the apron than is actually needed at any one time.

GSE Pooling means that all equipment is owned by the airport or Airline Operating Committee (AOC) and stored centrally, leased to each ground handler as and when they need it.

The demand for storage is then much less, as space is saved airside. If a terminal requires around 3,500 pieces of equipment on the traditional contracts, this can be reduced by up to 24% by pooling Ground Services equipment.

There is another benefit in terms of cost savings. Less equipment is required, therefore less is spent on purchasing and maintaining.

How can AiQ Consulting Help?

AiQ Consulting has been advising and guiding airports, Airline Operating Committees (AOC), airlines and ground handlers on the benefits of pooling ground support equipment for many years.

Through our contract as Airside Operations Planners in Heathrow, as well as our various projects in other airports internationally, our team has a great deal of experience in Apron Modeling and GSE simulations. We can quantify the benefits of GSE Pooling to airports, AOCs and Ground Handlers, through detailed but easy to analyse models. We are also instrumental in minimising the effect felt by the management of the service.

Find out more about Ground Support Equipment Pooling