AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

What Is Aircraft Ground Support Equipment?

The smooth and efficient operation of an airport depends on various factors, and one of the most crucial aspects is the proper use of ground support equipment. These essential components play a vital role in ensuring the safety, maintenance, and overall functionality of aircraft while they are on the ground. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of ground support equipment, exploring its significance, its uses, and the different types of assemblies involved.

Understanding Ground Support Equipment

Ground support equipment (GSE) encompasses a wide range of machinery, tools, and vehicles used to support aircraft operations during ground handling activities. These activities include aircraft maintenance, servicing, loading and unloading cargo, passenger boarding, and more. GSE aids in providing the necessary power, utilities, and services required by aircraft while they are on the ground, ensuring their readiness for flight.

Ground Power Units

As aircraft require a significant amount of electrical power to perform various functions, including to power avionics systems, start engines, and maintain a comfortable environment for passengers and crew, ground power units (GPUs) serve as one of the crucial components of GSE. GPUs are mobile power sources that supply electrical power to aircraft when their onboard power units are not operational.

GPUs come in different sizes and power capacities to meet the diverse needs of numerous aircraft models. These units are equipped with cables and connectors that allow them to establish a secure electrical connection with the aircraft. By providing a reliable power source, GPUs enable aircraft systems to function without relying on their onboard power generation capabilities.

Cables and Hoses

GSE also encompasses an array of cables and hoses that are essential for servicing and maintaining aircraft. These cables and hoses serve various purposes, including the transfer of power, fuel, and other utilities required by the plane.

Power cables are used to connect GPUs or other power sources to the aircraft's electrical systems, allowing for the transfer of electrical energy. Fuel hoses, on the other hand, enable the refueling of aircraft by connecting fuel storage tanks or fuel trucks to the aircraft's fuel tanks.

Additionally, pneumatic hoses are used to supply compressed air to power aircraft systems such as brakes, hydraulic systems, and air conditioning. As such, these hoses are crucial for maintaining proper functionality and safety during ground operations.

Other Ground Support Equipment

Apart from the standard GSE most operators are familiar with, there are several other types of ground support equipment that are essential for efficient aircraft operations on the ground. Some of these include:

1.Ground Handling Equipment: This category of GSE includes various vehicles and machinery used for loading and unloading cargo, baggage handling, and passenger boarding. Some notable examples include baggage carts, cargo loaders, passenger stairs, and boarding bridges.

2.Aircraft Maintenance Equipment: These tools and machinery are used for routine maintenance, inspections, and repairs of aircraft. They include tow tractors, maintenance stands, jacks, and hydraulic test equipment.

3.Ground Cooling and Heating Units: While on the ground, these units provide temperature control for the aircraft cabin. As such, they ensure a comfortable environment for passengers and crew during boarding and disembarking.

4.Ground Support Vehicles: These vehicles assist in the transportation of personnel, equipment, and supplies across the airport apron. Some common examples include fuel trucks, catering vehicles, lavatory servicing trucks, and water service trucks.


From ground power units and cables to various vehicles and machinery, the components that comprise GSE provide the necessary power, utilities, and services required by aircraft during ground handling activities. By understanding the significance of GSE, airports can enhance efficiency, minimize downtime, and maintain the high standards of aircraft operations.

If you require any tools or equipment to conduct inspections or repairs on your aircraft in between flights, connect with the experts at Aircraft Parts Supplier. As a leading distributor of high-quality GSE and various other aviation products, customers can easily meet their operational requirements with our selection of aerospace-approved components. To get started on the procurement process for any featured listing, we invite you to fill out and submit an RFQ form through our website, or contact a team member via phone or email at your earliest convenience!


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