Schools Training

Keepin’ It Clean On and Off Board – Sweepers and Other Airline Equipment

18 SEP 2012
Career Path : Aviation

Look for these pieces of ground service equipment the next time that you have a long wait at the airport. Parents can even make a game of it, a kind of airline equipment challenge, in which children must identify all items on a list of ground support equipment, and the first to do so is crowned the king or queen of the passenger lounge.

Airport runway sweeper

What is it? This piece of ground support equipment is like a big broom or vacuum cleaner on wheels. Some rely on a brush; others, rollers; and others still, on suction. Many combine all of the above. It can look like a tractor or a truck. The faster it moves, the better. Some are lauded for their ability to remove dust or fine particles. Some are better suited to snow removal.

Do you know what kind of sweeper is in use at your local airport? Montreal’s Trudeau airport is a reference in the industry for snow removal. In the winter, the ground support equipment crew uses a combination of mini sweepers along with Oshkosh snow tractors outfitted with both a plough in the front and a broom in the back. In industry parlance, snow is referred to as an “event,” with Trudeau experiencing on average 57 such events each year. It makes it an interesting destination for fans of ground service equipment.

Lavoratory service vehicle

What is it? This piece of airline equipment is used to empty on-board lavoratories. It can take one of two forms: either a self-propelling vehicle or a cart that requires the services of another essential piece of ground support equipment, the airport tug.

This is one piece of ground service equipment that plays a crucial role in health and safety at the airport. Proper design protects workers from exposure to potentially harmful viruses or bacteria. This in one reason why airports take lav truck training so seriously. New employees are typically required to shadow a senior operator before they can attempt to operate this piece of airline equipment on their own.

Aircraft cleaning cart

What is it? This piece of ground service equipment is a towable mobile cleaning unit, where cleaning equipment, such as products and vacuums, are stored.
Passengers may not realize just how many airline-specific cleaning products there are in the world. If they were to peek inside one of these pieces of airline equipment, they would see airline deodorizers and polishes nestled amongst some more familiar products such as handheld vacuum cleaners.

In conclusion, ground support equipment plays an important role in hygiene and sanitation at your airport. Airport safety is not just a matter of pilot training or security checks for passengers. It’s also about cleanliness.


Visit GTA Aviation Ground Equipment Specialties for more information on ground support equipment.