The limited nature of the training given by Ground Support Equipment (GSE) manufacturers often leaves airports and ground handling service providers with safety risks, inefficient operations and latent profitability.

The limited nature of the training given by Ground Support Equipment (GSE) manufacturers often leaves airports and ground handling service providers with safety risks, inefficient operations and latent profitability. Alex Samson, Director of Learning Development for RTITB Airside explains.

Those responsible for airport operations and ground handling service provision should be aware of the limitations and associated risks of relying on ground support equipment (GSE) training delivered by the manufacturer alone.

What is GSE manufacturer training?

GSE manufacturer training usually includes a vehicle overview and some familiarisation with controls and instruments. The manufacturers of GSE, ramp and airside operations vehicles typically provide this training as part of the purchase agreement.

The training usually provides operators with an overview of the capabilities/limitations of the machine, care and maintenance routines. But this is not enough to send an operator into live ramp operations.

What GSE manufacturer training is not

GSE manufacturer training does not usually inform operators about safe operating practices at the airport or how to perform certain operations in the specific airside environment, nor is it likely to cover airfield specific operating procedures, incident reporting, and human factors.

Environmental conditions must play a part in any GSE training regime

Even though basic principles of operations remain the same, certain differences in operating technique exist in the live environment, compared to a demonstration environment.

From traffic flows to weather, from accident hotspots to road systems and stand configurations, each airport presents its own challenges and drivers need to know how to safely and efficiently operate their new equipment in their specific airfield.

This is why tailored training is needed, specific to the relevant airport.

Training must be tailored for GSE operators

To be effective, training for GSE operators shouldn’t just be about the operation of the machine itself, it must be tailored to fit:

a) the candidate
b) the environment in which operations are conducted (i.e. the specific airport or terminal)
c) the type of operations that will be conducted. For example, teaching a new operator to transport baggage dollies between baggage halls is very different to teaching them to operate the same machine on a stand in close proximity to an aircraft

The limited nature of the training given by Ground Support Equipment (GSE) manufacturers often leaves airports and ground handling service providers with safety risks, inefficient operations and latent profitability.

The result of more specific training

Re-fueling, inspections, cleaning, baggage handling, cargo handling, passenger boarding and more must all be choreographed to take place in a small timeframe, with many happening simultaneously. Operators trained on the specific environment help make these airside operations more efficient, and the airport more profitable.

Specific training helps operators to develop greater situational awareness and a greater appreciation of airside safety. This in turn can help all parties involved in aircraft turnaround and airside operations to work together more harmoniously also helping to reduce damage to aircraft, infrastructure or other vehicles.

How to deliver more specific training

One approach is to train your in-house instructors so that they have the skills required to deliver effective classroom training and practical equipment driver training. It is also more convenient.

RTITB Airside Instructor training courses cover a broad range of airside vehicle and ground handling equipment types to suit your operation. This enables instructors to deliver baggage tug training, aircraft pushback tractor training, hiloader training, airbridge training, safedock training, fuel bowser training, de-icer training, snow plough training, snow cutter training, and ADP training to name just a few.

Available as a 5- or 10-day course (depending on candidate experience), our Airside Instructor Courses are delivered in your airside environment to ensure context and relevance.  We also develop bespoke airside course material to support the specific training such as presentations, workbooks, instructor guides, training videos and more.

Contact RTITB Airside for more information.