Best Practices for Keeping Your Airport Ground Crew Up and Running

Best Practices for Keeping Your Airport Ground Crew Up and Running

It’s a simple truth. If your airport ground support crew isn’t operating efficiently, your airport facility isn’t operating efficiently. Ground support crew members are essential to keeping airport facilities running smoothly and safely and flights running on time.

One slip-up in any ground support operation, such as a takeoff delay caused by a problem with ground support equipment (GSE) or a refueling not performed accurately and safely, can impact your bottom line and reputation and most importantly, the safety of your crew.

Keep your ground crew running effectively and your airport running smoothly by following these best practices.

Put Safety First

GSE is only as effective as the skill set of the crew member who’s operating it. Providing comprehensive and continual training courses and hands-on training on GSE ensures your crew members’ skills are top-notch. Making safety first and training a priority not only reduces the chances of a mishap occurring, but also:

  • Leads to better use of airport facility resources, time, and money due to ground crew performance and productivity improvements
  • Helps retain and attract top talent by offering training that improves and builds skills, which boosts morale, and drives employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity

Initiate Safety Incentive Programs

Incentive programs are a common practice for businesses of all types and sizes to keep employees motivated and aligned with an organization’s goals and values. Airport facilities and ground support crew are no different.

Creating a program that rewards ground support crew for the safe and efficient operation of GSE is an effective solution for emphasizing the value of safety, efficiency, and accuracy in your operations. Based on the training courses you have in place, you can determine what GSE operations to reward and how. For example, giving a gift card for safe and efficient aircraft refueling over a designated period, or for a consecutive number of days meeting turnaround times.

Giving public recognition and incentives to crew members for their achievements increases morale and helps your crew feel valued, which builds loyalty and keeps your best crew members on board.

Conduct an Assessment of GSE

Every piece of GSE has a finite lifespan. Some equipment does not change much from year to year, but other equipment, such as aircraft tugs, are continuously becoming more efficient, easier to operate, and environmentally friendly.

Using outdated GSE can put your crew at risk, increase maintenance costs, and decrease productivity with unexpected downtime. To that end, train your ground crew to look for warning signs of GSE that’s near the end of its lifespan or not working as it should. Red flags include:

  • Difficulty starting
  • Emitting too much carbon
  • Burning through a large amount of petroleum
  • Having to run for a long time to reach peak operating temperature
  • Controls that are difficult to use and not intuitive

Have Maintenance Plans In Place

Regular and efficient maintenance of GSE ensures that GSE is crew and job ready. By staying on top of fault code notifications, utilization levels, and real-time maintenance statuses, you can take action before an issue becomes an expensive repair or causes downtime. Using a telematics solution can greatly help you streamline GSE maintenance schedules and keep everything on track.

In addition to maintenance plans, your crew should routinely inspect ground support vehicles including tires, tire pressure, belts, hoses, air filters, and fluid levels.

Take Advantage of Technology

Telematics technology makes it easy to keep track of what is happening with GSE and your ground crew 24/7. With the ability to manage and monitor your crew, GSE, and fuel tanks, you gain the visibility needed to keep your ground support operations safe, efficient, and productive.

With the data collected from telematics devices, you can quickly identify problem areas, trends, and opportunities, allowing you to make faster and smarter decisions that improve:

  • The efficiency, productivity, and safety of your ground support crew
  • GSE operations by your ground crew
  • Control over fuel delivery, scheduling, and inventory to ensure you have the fuel you need to keep GSE reliably fueled

While your ground control crew works behind the scenes, their expertise is critical to the safe and timely arrival and departure of flights. The better your crew can perform their job with the best equipment, top-notch training, and the feeling that they are appreciated and valued, the more effective they will be and the better your airport facility will be.