Manchester Airport has completed a UK-first trial to demonstrate renewable-powered ground handling vehicles that ensure better air quality and reduced emissions during aircraft turnarounds.
The new electric vehicles replace the traditional diesel-fuelled equipment for loading and towing aircraft, including the ‘push back’ tug, belt loader conveyor and multi-purpose cargo tractor, resulting in a lower environmental impact on the airfield.
During the month-long trial, the equipment successfully reduced emissions and improved air quality during aircraft turnarounds.
The electric equipment also ensures a smoother pushback from the terminal for passengers whilst also providing a cleaner and quieter working environment for ground staff.
The trial was developed by the airport’s environmental team alongside aviation company, Swissport International; ground support equipment suppliers, Posicharge and Terberg DTS; airport ramp vehicle manufacturer, Charlatte Manutention; and Thomson Airways.
Manchester Airport has installed a rapid charging point which can charge the equipment in less than two hours, with each charge lasting several days.
Tim Walmsley, head of environment and health and safety at Manchester Airport, said: “Manchester Airport is committed to reducing carbon emissions right across the airport.
"This trial supports this goal as well as improving air quality and providing a cleaner working environment for those involved in airside operations and also enhances the customer experience."
Matt Hill, head of ground support equipment sales at Terberg DTS, added: “Handlers and airlines can switch to greener technology without affecting their operational effectiveness whilst also making huge improvements to the working environment.”
The electric handling equipment will be adopted by the airport as part of the £1 billion Manchester Airport Transformation Programme, which aims to renovate the airfield.