Timsan: Evolving with the needs of the GSE market

Timsan: Evolving with the needs of the GSE market
Pictured: Timsan's founder and chairman of the board, Haldun Aksoy (Image credit: Timsan)

Turkey-headquartered ground support equipment (GSE) manufacturer Timsan tells Airside that the needs of the market are evolving. As sustainability takes to the forefront for GSE operators, a new, modern market is emerging.

Decarbonising operations is a priority for stakeholders across the aviation industry – and the GSE sector is no exception. With handlers setting deadlines for net zero carbon operations, the promise of ‘100 per cent electrification’ of their GSE fleets is fundamental to their sustainability strategies.

The demand for electric – or ‘sustainable’ – ground support vehicles is only increasing. But how are the manufacturers reacting to GSE operators’ needs as they phase out diesel?

According to Haldun Aksoy, Timsan’s founder and chairman of the board: “We [have done] market research and analysis among our customers to understand the current trends and demands in the GSE market, particularly focusing on sustainability requirements. We analysed customers’ preferences, regulatory changes and emerging technologies related to sustainable GSE.”

In collaboration with universities, government agencies, battery manufacturers and software companies, Timsan has attempted to access the expertise, resources and funding to innovate and adapt to the needs of a market now demanding more electric ground support equipment. Regulatory compliance has also played a fundamental part in the manufacturer’s attempt to keep up with the needs of operators.

Aksoy explains that Timsan has “compiled information about environmental regulations and standards governing GSE operations to ensure our products at least meet or exceed regulatory requirements for emissions, noise and other environmental impacts”. The company’s goal, he says, is to “proactively adapt to regulatory changes to avoid compliance issues and maintain market competitiveness”.

Perhaps ahead of aviation’s sustainability trend, Timsan produced its first fully-electric GSE 14 years ago, with the release of an electric ambulance vehicle and electric passenger stairs in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Since then, the company has continued to produce more than 10 different models of electric GSE – including towable water and toilet service vehicles, towable and self-propelled passenger stairs and belt loaders, and towing tractors.

Despite Timsan’s aim to exceed varying regulatory frameworks for sustainable airside operations, Aksoy highlights that regulations, among other factors, remain a significant barrier to a wider uptake of sustainable GSE. Technological limitations, market dynamics and financial considerations are all challenges that are preventing further GSE electrification globally, Timsan’s founder highlights.

Additionally, he emphasises, operators are being deterred by high initial costs, performance concerns compared to conventional equipment and reluctance to adopt new technologies, alongside a number of other factors such as the infrastructure challenges associated with charging. When considering the geographical disparities between markets, perhaps differing priorities – as far as sustainability is concerned – highlight that many barriers still exist today for GSE electrification.

As far as charging infrastructure challenges go, Aksoy asserts: “Electric GSE, such as electric tugs or baggage tractors, often have limited ranges compared to their conventional counterparts. Operators may be hesitant to adopt electric GSE if they are concerned about vehicles running out of charge before completing their tasks.

“A lack of charging infrastructure exacerbates this issue because operators may worry about the availability of charging stations to recharge vehicles during shifts. Without adequate charging infrastructure in place, GSE operators may face operational disruptions when electric vehicles require recharging.

“Delays caused by waiting for vehicles to recharge or needing to relocate them to distant charging stations can impact productivity and service levels. This may lead operators to prioritise the use of conventional equipment with longer operating ranges and shorter refuelling times.”

Lack of standardisation is also a problem when considering solutions to the infrastructure barriers associated with electric ground support equipment. Without standardisation, the adoption of sustainable GSE can be unnecessarily complicated, Aksoy states – especially if handlers operate a diverse fleet of vehicles with different charging requirements.

“Ensuring compatibility between electric GSE and available charging infrastructure is essential for seamless integration into operations,” he adds.