Airport Ground Support Equipment | Pre-Operations Safety Check

Airport Gse

Airport Ground Support Equipment | Airport GSE | Airport GSE services is vital to both safety and productivity in the aviation industry. To maintain airport safety, it is extremely important that ground support equipment pre-operations safety checks are performed by trained professionals before operating any GSE


What Is Airport Ground Support Equipment?

Airport Ground Support equipment is an industry term that refers to support equipment typically found at an airport that is used to service the aircraft between flights. Airport Ground Support Equipment is generally kept on a ramp near the terminal when not in use for quick accessibility. 

Airport GSE’s main purpose is to support the safe operations of the aircraft after landing and before taking off again. It is usually involves a variety of aircraft mobility, ground power operations, and cargo and passenger loading operations.


Airport Ground Support Equipment Types

There are two types of airport GSE :

1- Ground Support Equipment (Non-Powered)

Aircraft Tripod Jacks

Aircraft jacks are used to support an aircraft while on the ground. Because the aircraft can become tail heavy when passengers deplane, it can be supported by an aircraft tripod jack, although not all planes need this.



Aircraft chocks are used to prevent an aircraft from moving while parked, and are essentially wood or rubber molds that are placed in front and back of the wheels of landing gear.


A dolly (dollies) is a platform on wheels used to hold and transport heavy, unmanageable objects.

A- Dollies for Loose Baggage

Loose baggage dollies can be used to transport a variety of loose baggage, including mail bags, cargo carton boxes, etc. These types of dollies feature a brake system to prevent the wheels from moving when not desired. Commonly, loose baggage dollies are completely enclosed to protect the items from the elements.

B- Dollies for unit load device (ULD)

 The main difference between ULD Dollies and Dollies for Loose Baggage is that ULD Dollies are standardized to a specific size and operate much more like a mobile pallet. These units are designed to be lightweight and supportive and often fly along with the cargo they help transport to the aircraft. ULD Dollies rest on ball bearings and are equipped with hinges and locks to secure the load during tugging.


2- Ground Support Equipment (Powered)

Air Start Unit

Air start units are devices used to start an airplane’s engines in the event that APU is malfunctioning.


Buses are used to transport people from the terminal to other terminals or aircraft..

Belt Loaders

A belt loader is a type of vehicle with a conveyor belt design for easy unloading and loading of cargo and baggage onto an airplane.

Container Loader

Commonly referred to as “K loaders” container loaders are used to unload and load pallets on and off of an aircraft.

Catering Vehicle

Catering vehicles are used to facilitate the unloading and reloading of food and beverages for passengers and crew.

De-Icing Vehicles

De-icing vehicles for aircraft are often needed to prevent frozen water and cold temperatures from affecting the aircraft.

Ground Power Units

Ground power units are mobile power units designed to supply power to parked aircraft.

Lavatory Service Vehicles

Lavatory service vehicles are used to quickly empty and refill aircraft lavatories.

Potable Water Trucks

These specialized vehicles store filtered, potable water to be delivered to aircraft as needed.

Passenger Boarding, Steps, Stairs

Passenger boarding steps (also known as passenger boarding stairs, boarding ramps, stair car, or aircraft steps) is a mobile staircase designed to allow passengers and crew access to the aircraft doors.

Pushback Tugs

Pushback tugs are a specialized type of towing vehicle designed to push aircraft away from the gate.


Aircraft refuelers can be either self-contained vehicles or mobile carts. Since aircraft fuel needs are so massive, refueler trucks often carry up to 10,000 gallons of fuel. Smaller carts are used with a hydrant system which connects to a refueler truck and can simplify refueling logistics for airports by providing more refueling options from one truck.

Tugs And Tractors

Tugs and tractors are responsible for moving equipment that is too large to move itself, including air starters, lavatory carts, bag carts, and more.


It is used for loading and unloading of cargo and transportation of cargo as well.


Airport Ground Support Equipment Pre-operation Check

 1- Pre-operation Safety Check (Powered GSE)

a) Conduct visual checks for damage, cracks or abnormal wear;

b) Brakes are operational;

c) Illumination & indication lights are functional;

d) Warning systems are functional;

e) Steering is functional;

f) No fluid and/or oil leaks;

g) No bald tyres;

h) Rubber bumpers are in good condition.

 Note: Not applicable to refuellers.

 2- Pre-operation Safety Check (non-Powered GSE)

a) Conduct visual checks for damage, cracks or abnormal wear;

b) Stabilizers and braking mechanisms are functional;

c) No bald tyres.


Note: Not applicable to refuellers.

3- Pre-operation Safety Check (Refuellers only)

a) Conduct visual checks for damage, cracks or abnormal wear;

b) Brakes are operational;

c) Illumination & indication lights are functional;

d) No fluid and/or oil leaks;

e) No bald tyres.



Prior to movement of ground support equipment, a walk around check must be made. Only adequately trained, qualified and authorized GSE operators should be permitted to operate equipment. Furthermore, ground support Equipment should only be used for its intended purposes.

Maged Saeed AL-Hadabi

I’m Instructor / Maged Saeed Al-Hadabi. ​ Air Cargo / IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations / Safety Management System Senior Instructor, Auditor [ Yemen Airways] . Approved IATA DGR/ SMS Instructor by Yemen Civil Aviation Authority.

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