Aircraft ground support equipment can be commonly seen in the servicing area of an airport. They are used to perform the essential services in the area, in order to save man power. These ground service equipments are under the authority of the airport and the airport staff operates them. With the development of technology, most of the work done in between the terminal and the aircraft are done using ground support equipment. They help to increase the efficiency of the airport and it reduces the turnaround time of an aircraft.
Aircraft ground support equipment can be categorized into two as powered equipment and non-powered equipment. Bag carts and Trolleys fall under the category of non-powered equipment because they are not operated using any power sources. The powered equipment includes refuelers, tractors, buses, transporters, belt loaders and so on. All these equipments are designed to ensure passenger safety and convenience.
The chocks are one of the most important items among ground service equipment. They are used to stop the aircraft from moving while it is at rest. They are made using wood or rubber and kept in both the sides of landing gear wheels. There must be an efficient way to transport the baggage from aircraft to the terminal and vice-versa. Trolleys or bag carts are used in order to accomplish that and they can carry the bags in a safer way. They are easy to move and the mechanical brakes assist to control the trolley in a smooth way.
The tugs and tractors are used to represent the essential parts of ground support service. They are used to move the items which cannot be move itself. They include passenger items as well as aircraft equipment. Refuelers are used to supply the necessary fuel to the plane. Normally a refueler can handle around 10,000 US gallons of fuel and has its own hoses, pumps and filters.
The transportation method of people from the aircraft to the bus and vice-versa are carried with the help of a bus. They are not like the traditional buses and are referred to as people movers in the airport. While people are taken to the terminal with the use of buses, cargo is taken using the containers. The container loader assists to load the amount into the container. People can get into the plane and get off from the plane using passenger boarding stairs.
When an aircraft engine needs to start, it needs air and it is provided by an air starter. Air starter is basically a van with a built in gas turbine engine. The compressor of the aircraft is not sufficient to provide the amount of air and the air starter supplies the required amount of air using a hose. Portable water trucks that are kept ready for an emergency situation can also be considered as ground service equipment. Essential service providing vehicles such as lavatory service vehicles and catering vehicles are also ground service equipments.