Ground Support Equipment or it's abbreviation GSE refers to support equipment used in airports to service aircraft on the ground. As the name implies, the main function of ground support equipment is to support on-ground operations in between flights while the aircraft is parked at the gate, in a hangar or at a remote area. GSE is used to service commercial and military aircraft as well.
During flights, aircraft operate independently but after landing, GSE must be employed to service, maintain, and prepare the aircraft for the next flight.
Efficiency is key to maintaining a minimal turnaround time, i.e. the time the aircraft spends on the ground. To support safe and timely ground operations, a variety of ground support equipment is available. Among those pieces of equipment, you find Ground Power Units (GPU) supplying 400 Hz power and Pre-Conditioned Air (PCA) unit, creating a comfortable environment for the aircraft staff and passengers.
Other GSE examples are pushback tractors, stairs and passenger busses.
GSE is important to carry out operations on the ground.
Efficient and reliable ground support equipment is key to ensure smooth turnarounds and on-time departures thus avoiding delays, costs and inconvenience for passengers.
GSE is essential to perform a turnaround – you cannot carry out a turnaround without any GSE. For example, you need a pushback tractor to make the aircraft leave the gate and you need belt loaders to quickly bring the luggage to the passengers.
Also, some GSE provide safety on the apron, as for example the passenger busses transporting the passengers safely from the remote parked aircraft to the terminal.
Aircraft support equipment helps ensure efficient ground operations. This includes supplying the aircraft with power for lights, cleaning etc., refueling the aircraft, unloading and loading cargo and luggage, and providing fresh air to create a comfortable temperature.
Aircraft support equipment is ground power units, pre-condition air units, stairs, container loaders, belt loaders, refuel equipment.