British Airways invests in sustainable GSE

British Airways will invest millions of pounds in overhauling its ground support equipment at London Heathrow Airport, replacing ground vehicles with hybrid or electric alternatives where available.

Ground vehicles at Heathrow such as vans and cars, cargo transporters and passenger steps will gradually be replaced.

More than 90% of British Airways’ vehicles and ground equipment at Heathrow are either zero emissions electric equipment or are operating on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) fuel.

British Airways says more than 750 pieces of ground equipment including fuel bowsers are using HVO, which is supplied by Phillips 66, and is anticipated to save more than 6,000 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to traditional diesel fuel.

Passenger aircraft steps will be replaced with electric alternatives, which is expected to cut CO2 emissions by more than 370 tonnes per year with many of the electric steps entering service by the end of the year.

The fleet of 20 diesel-powered vehicles supporting the loading and unloading of cargo containers will be replaced with hybrid electric models.

135 new electric baggage tugs accounting for 40% of British Airways’ tugs will be introduced utilising lithium-ion battery technology, which requires less energy and produces 30% less CO2 compared to traditional lead acid batteries.

All 38 diesel passenger buses will be gradually phased out over the next two years with 23 expected to be fully electric and the other 15 running on HVO fuel.

A large charging park is in the early stages of development at Heathrow with British Airways saying it expects to save 800 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Tom Moran, British Airways’ Director of Heathrow, said: “This major investment into our vehicles at Heathrow is our largest investment in more sustainable airport ground operations to date and is part of our wider environmental objective to minimise emissions from our airside ground operation. We’re proud of the work we are doing in this space and are excited to continue improving the running of our ground operations at Heathrow.”

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