Electric ground support equipment (eGSE) best option for Piedmont Airlines
29 November 2018
Some eight years ago, Piedmont Airlines realised electric ground support equipment (eGSE) was the best option for their operation at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), NC. Since making its initial move to electric equipment in 2010, the subsidiary of American Airlines has continued to invest in eGSE; today 75% of Piedmont’s GSE deployed at American’s hub in North Carolina is battery-powered. Following the economic downturn in 2008, fuel prices were rising, helping to accelerate the company’s decision to explore electric equipment. Back then, there was still a lot of hesitation within the company to transition to electric equipment, explained Brian Wemple, Piedmont Ground Handling’s director of planning and support. “This project, which was for US Airways at the time, was one of the first where we chose to purchase a fleet of electric equipment versus being forced to buy electric equipment,” he said. At the time, many eGSE purchases were made because airport authorities, air quality boards, or municipalities were mandating it. But few operations were choosing to move to electric, Wemple said. But the airline got support from CLT, as the airport funded charging stations. Additionally, the airline partnered with Mecklenburg County to receive grant money. As a result, 80% of the electric tractors/pushbacks that replaced diesel units were acquired through grant money.