Telematics to be installed in 2600 airside vehicles at Gatwick

Gatwick Airport plans to reduce accidents on its airfield by 25 per cent by requiring telematic devices – that can record a vehicle’s location, speed and even when the brakes are applied – to be installed in 2600 key vehicles on its airfield.

The airport is looking to use the technology to encourage improved driver behaviour and accountability. The results – in terms of compliance with speed limits and parking regulations – will be presented in league tables highlighting the best and worst performing companies.

The airport already uses league tables to improve performance in a range of other areas – including to compare airlines’ and ground handlers’ on time performance – and the measure has been proven to instil a sense of competition and a motivation for individuals and organisations “to be number one”.

Gatwick is also not being prescriptive and under the new system – provided by Ortus Group – the 24 companies with key airside vehicles can install any telematic technology they wish, as long as it is compatible with Gatwick’s new unified reporting system.

The system will be operational at Gatwick by May this year, when all third parties who already have telematics systems fitted will be required to report into the system, with remaining third parties required to fit telematics systems and report in by September.

In addition to the provision of the unified reporting system, Gatwick has selected Ortus Group to provide the telematics technology that will be installed in its own fleet vehicles.

With space being limited on Gatwick’s airfield, illegal parking can be a cause of accidents so the new system will automatically monitor compliance with parking regulations to ensure that the right vehicles are parked in the right place.

Similarly, driving too fast can cause accidents and the new system is expected to improve speed limit compliance – while also removing the need for the costly speed trap exercises and equipment that have formed part of the airport’s speeding enforcement programme to date.

Other cost savings are expected as vehicle movement data will reduce the need for lengthy accident investigations and assist with cheaper insurance costs.  Fleet managers across the airport can also save money through insights into vehicle usage by, for example, sizing their fleets more efficiently based on accurate utilisation data from the telematics technology installed, which in turn saves on fuel and reduces maintenance costs.

By sizing fleets more efficiently, the new system may also help to reduce emissions on the airfield – something Gatwick has also done by providing fixed electrical ground power on its aircraft stands with 40% of airfield ground support equipment also electric powered.

Gatwick itself operates just over 200 vehicles on the airfield but in total 2600 vehicles use the airfield.  Around 400 – primarily those operated by the airport’s ground handlers – already have telematics systems installed.

Gatwick Airport chief operating officer, Chris Woodroofe said: “Safety is always a top priority at Gatwick and by deploying new telematics technology we expect to take our strong safety record to the next level.

“A key component of our strategy is to be fully transparent and make the new driving data available for everyone on the airport to see.  We know from our experience in other areas that this drives a strong sense of competition and helps to deliver improvements, which in this case means fewer vehicles accidents on our airfield.”