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with electric GSE fl eets that there are enough power re-charging points airside for all the GSE vehicle operators working at the airport? Third and most important, are alternative power GSE fl eets reliable in all weathers and are they a cost- eff ective solution for airports large and small? These issues were discussed at the Airports Going Green Conference at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport last month. Nate Kimball is sustainability manager at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The authority operates fi ve airports including JFK, LaGuardia and Newark. “We have a huge number of carriers at our major


airports - they are not a single hub airport for one airline,” he says. “So when we talk about Ground Support Equipment it concerns multiple operators. This can make data collection very diffi cult. When we looked at our green house gases inventory while GSE equipment only contributes 5 per cent of our total green house gas emissions, you essentially have very old equipment at the airports contributing almost 19 per cent of NO2 emissions so that is a big air quality concern for us.” When the port authority did an inventory among all its GSE stakeholders it found that there were 4,500 vehicles or pieces of equipment at the airports and a number of them dated from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. This explained the high levels of air pollutants caused directly be GSE operations. “It is a concern that when we are looking to grow and add capacity at our major airports that we are bumping up against legally enforceable air emissions limits,” Kimball said. Ongoing upgrades of the airport infrastructure has presented an opportunity to look at the replacement of these ageing GSE fl eets. The authority is in the middle of a $4 billion redevelopment at LaGuardia airport, which includes the construction of a new 35- gate terminal. The authority went through the public/private partnership that is fi nancing the construction and operation of the new terminal and put in a requirement to electrify the GSE


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vehicle fl eet that will service the new facility. This covers the three main pieces of equipment used at the airport, which the authority considers make the most impact on emissions - baggage tags, belt loaders and push back tractors. “By the time this terminal is built the intention is that those pieces of equipment will be electrifi ed,” says Kimball. “In addition the terminal operator will have the infrastructure in place to support that.” The authority is also reaching out to airlines to


encourage them to access the $2 billion in Federal funding available from the diesel emissions fi nes imposed on Volkswagen by the US government in order to fi nance major lower emissions projects. The settlement terms imposed by the fi ne specifi cally state that the money can be used to replace airport GSE fl eets with greener vehicles. “This only came out a couple of months ago but is something that really interests us and we would like to go into partnership with the multiple carriers who are stakeholders at our airports,” he says. Although the port authority has jurisdiction


over fi ve airports it actually only directly operates one terminal in that entire estate – the rest are operated by third parties which means it does not have a great deal of operational control at the airports. This makes co-ordinating green vehicle initiatives across the entire infrastructure that much harder. “However, in our view electric GSE just makes sense,” he adds. “A lot of airlines are keeping these pieces of equipment for 40-plus years so for them maybe it doesn’t makes sense to invest in an entirely new piece of equipment. But operationally, in terms of cost there is a benefi t and there is also a safety benefi t as you are not fuelling equipment airside and you are not having to bring across tankers.” While many airports are now much more


focused on genuinely reducing their emissions there is a danger that some of this activity can be regarded by critics as “green washing” or “eco bling” in which fairly token steps are taken to put a gloss on the high level of emissions produced at


Nov/Dec 2016 / AF / 31


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