Understanding Ramp Operations

Chapter : Infrastructure at Ramp

Equipments of Airlines: When an aircraft is on ground there are a number of support vehicles and equipment units required to service and turn around an aircraft.

1. The Tow Truck used for Pushback.

2. The GPU Electrical power supply when the aircraft systems are switched off

3. The Bowser used to refuel the aircraft

4. The Transporter to move luggage and cargo to and from the aircraft

5. The Loader to carry the cargo or luggage via a conveyor belt to and from the aircraft hold

6. ULD Containers to pack the luggage into a compact unit to load into the cargo hold.

7. The AC Pac to provide fresh temperature controlled air to the cabin

8. The Commissary unit to provide Food and beverage to the Aircraft Cabin galley.

9. The Sanitation Truck to provide cleaning of the cabin and waste disposal from the lavatories.

10. The Air-stair to assist the passengers in boarding and de planning the aircraft.

11. Shuttle busses to carry passengers to and from the terminal to the aircraft.

12. Chocks: These are triangular structures made of aluminum rubber or wood and are placed under the aircraft wheels to prevent movement once the aircraft has come to a halt. They are removed prior to the aircraft moving again.

13. GPU:The Ground Power Unit is an auxiliary electrical power supply similar to a generator that provides the aircraft with electricity when the engines are shut down.

14. Pushback: An aircraft cannot maneuver in the reverse direction under its own power and hence requires the aid of an external vehicle to move it away from the parking bay. This vehicle is called the pushback vehicle and the process is termed as “Pushback”. Pushbacks are carried out by special, low-profile vehicles called pushback tractors or tugs.

Aerobridge: An Aerobridge is an enclosed, movable connector which extends from an airport terminal gate to an airplane, thereby enabling passengers to board and disembark without having to step on to the apron outside. Configurations vary, depending on building design, sill heights, fueling positions, and operational requirements, and may be fixed or a movable bridge, swinging radially or extending in length.

Other Ramp Equipment: Apart from the major equipments mentioned above, there are many other equipments required at Ramp for routine maintenance / operations. These equipments are listed below:

  1. Aircraft Jacks 
  2. Airstart units 
  3. Baggage Carts 
  4. Baggage Tractors 
  5. Belt loaders 
  6. Cargo Dollies 
  7. Cargo Loaders           
  8. Catering Truck 
  9. Chocks 
  10. Deicers 
  11. Fork Lifts 
  12. Fuel Trucks 
  13. Ground Power Units 
  14. Hydraulic Mules          
  15. Lavatory Trucks/Carts 
  16. Maintenance Stand 
  17. Nitroboosters 
  18. Passenger stairs 
  19. Pushback Tractors 
  20. Towbars 
  21. Water Carts 
  22. Wheel Chair lifts