Aircraft GSE: The Basics

If you have ever flown out of any airport, you will have noticed them. They are various pieces of equipment that seem to dance attendance on all aircraft after it lands and just before it takes off. While they are never high profile, aircraft GSE are essential components of every airport around the world.

What Does GSE Stand For?

GSE is short for ground support equipment – i.e. essential services that take place only when the airport is landed. GSE is an all-encompassing term. It refers to a variety of vehicles and tools that are required by airports and aircraft to handle everything from docking to cleaning to oxygenizing to loading and unloading. In other words, airport GSE applies to all types of vehicles and equipment that support various maintenance and repair functions, supply power to this self-same concerns and accomplish a myriad of very practical tasks.

GSE is found at every single airport worldwide. Without it, aircraft would not only be unable to unload their cargo or baggage, they would cause damage when they backed away from the gate. Many people only consider what is on the aircraft and who flies it. This is a mistake. Without the services provided by the ground support equipment, the plane would be at a loss and the passengers lacking some of the essential services they have come to expect when they fly.

Who Owns Aircraft GSE?

Airport GSE may be owned by any number of individuals or companies. These include, but are not necessarily restricted to:

 * Airlines
 * Airports
 * The cargo handlers
 * Mail and parcel companies
 * Equipment management companies

In many instances, the aircraft GSE Is not loaned but leased or rented. This may reduce such things as overhead costs and the price of upgrading the GSE.

Common Types of Aircraft GSE

The world of aircraft GSE is not homogenous. There is no singular unit responsible for all the work performed and services provided. In fact, there is a wide variety of GSE equipment. They come in different sizes and are fooled by everything from electricity to gas. Among the most common types of ground support equipment at work in an airport are the following:

 * Air Conditioning Units are trailer or truck mounted compressors that deliver air through a hose to parked aircraft for cabin ventilation and engine cooling.
  * Aircraft Tugs (pushback tractors): These aircraft GSE tow the aircraft between the taxiway and the terminal. They also may “push” them from the terminal to the maintenance shop.
  * Baggage Tugs (or Tractors): These are responsible for moving luggage or cargo from the plane to the designated terminal.
  * Belt Loaders: These belt-driven, self-propelled conveyer belt is designed to move the luggage from the belly of the plane to the baggage tugs or tractors.
  * Cargo Loaders: these larger pieces of GSE are for loading and unloading cargo from aircraft.
  * De-icers: This type of aircraft GSE are generally trailers. They are equipped with the proper tools to spray a form of de-icer on the aircraft to prevent ice buildup.

These are a few of the ground support equipment responsible for ensuring the aircraft maneuver smoothly on the runway. They are there to provide ground support for the aircraft, its crew and passengers. Aircraft do so by supplying the essentials – everything from oxygenation to baggage delivery. It is no wonder that aircraft GSE form a very important and necessary component of any well-run and highly functioning airport.

In 1988, Mercury Service Inc. formed Mercury GSE to lease, sell and rent Aircraft GSE. They provide all the equipment necessary for servicing the aircraft when they are on the ground.

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