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IATA Puts Cost of Aircraft Ground Damage At $5b Annually

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December 06, (THEWILL) – The International Air Transport Association (IATA), has said the cost of ground damage to aircraft currently runs to about $5 billion a year.

IATA added that the figure will double by 2035, unless enhanced ground support equipment featuring anti-collision systems and other avoidance technologies is widely introduced at airports.

Enhanced GSE uses anti-collision and inching technology, improves vehicle control, and increases docking accuracy, all of which minimize the risk of personnel injuries and aircraft damage.

The call for transition to Enhanced GSE is detailed in a newly published IATA study, which estimates that the annual cost of ground damage could double to nearly $10 billion by 2035, unless preventive action is taken.

The cost of ground damage forecast is based on direct costs (including labour and material costs, temporary leasing costs, logistical expenses, and administrative costs) and indirect costs (lost revenue, crew and passenger repositioning costs, compensation costs for delayed services etc.).

The study further showed that most aircraft ground damage that occurs once the aircraft is stationary, is caused by motorised GSE striking the fuselage of the aircraft

It also pointed out that the widebody aircraft ground damage rate is ten times higher than narrowbody aircraft, but regional jets, turboprops, and narrow-body aircraft are 30% more prone to severe ground damage

Other findings point to the fact that belt loaders, cargo loaders, passenger stairs and passenger boarding bridges (PBB), cause 40% of total incidents.

IATA, however, advised that transitioning 75% of the global fleet of belt-loaders, cargo-loaders, passenger stairs and PBB to Enhanced GSE, would reduce the current expected ground damage cost per turn rate by 42% (IATA estimate).

Commenting, Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President, Operations, Safety and Security, said “Transitioning to Enhanced GSE with anti-collision technology is a no-brainer. We have proven technology that can improve safety. And with the cost of ground damage growing across the industry, there is a clear business case supporting early adoption. The challenge now is to put together a roadmap so that all stakeholders are aligned on a transition plan.

“Most Enhanced GSE is electrically powered, making it cleaner and more energy efficient. While the main focus of aviation’s decarbonisation efforts is on how we power aircraft, what happens on the ground cannot be ignored. The transition to Enhanced GSE will contribute to our industry’s top priorities of safety and sustainability”, Careen said.