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Amsterdam Schiphol investing in more emissions-free ground equipment


Amsterdam Schiphol has announced that it is replacing its fuel generators with 30 new electric Ground Power Units (e-GPUs) and introducing the use of more electric systems that provide fresh air on board aircraft.

It notes that these are are important steps towards emission-free ground handling at the airport.

According to the airport, aircraft parked at various piers at Schiphol will soon get their power from emission-free equipment thanks to the arrival of these new e-GPUs, which are a kind of electric power bank for planes.


The electric PCAs that are placed at piers E, F and G ensure that planes parked at the gate receive fresh air on board.

Currently, 40% of the equipment used by ground handlers at Schiphol is electric, and the arrival of more electrically powered equipment is seen as an important step towards Schiphol’s ambition to have an emission-free ground operation by 2030.

Furthermore, replacing fuel power units and keeping auxiliary engines switched off is expected to help the airport  achieve the Labour Inspectorate’s requirements to improve air quality.

“With the arrival of these e-GPUs and additional electric PCAs, the aircraft’s auxiliary engine can remain switched off more often. That’s good for a variety of reasons,” exclaimed the Royal Schiphol Group’s sustainability expert, Denise Pronk.

“Thanks to these investments, CO2 emissions will decrease and the air quality on the apron, and thus the working conditions for staff, will improve. We are pleased that, together with KLM, dnata and Aviapartner, we have been able to create a pool where all employees on the apron can use available equipment.”

Power bank for planes

Jorben Sprong, unit manager for operational support apron services at KLM Ground Services, said: “The 30 new e-GPUs are another great step towards equipping the entire apron at Schiphol with electric ground equipment in the future.

“By pooling these e-GPUs, we can make optimal use of the ground equipment and emissions are significantly reduced.

“We are working together with the sector to introduce more e-GPUs at Schiphol as quickly as possible and to find a solution for widebody planes, for which the e-GPU cannot yet be used.

While KLM Equipment Services’ manager for fleet management and engineering, Paul Feldbrugge, noted: “The introduction of 30 new e-GPUs is aligned with KLM Equipment Services’ strategy as pool manager and GPU owner to electrify the entire GPU pool by 2030.

“This process is running parallel to the installation of charging facilities at the airport that are critical for the use of e-GPUs.”


The new e-GPUs will be used around the aircraft stands on Pier C and on those on the inside of Pier D. The first 13 e-GPUs are being installed in August and all 30 will be in service this autumn.

Combined with the fixed power points offered at various piers, aircraft at the gate will be provided with emission-free power throughout Schiphol. Schiphol runs entirely on power from Dutch wind.

An e-GPU powers aircraft on the ground. This is needed for on-board systems such as lighting and computers in the cockpit when the engines and auxiliary engines are switched off.

The power bank consists of multiple batteries powerful enough for narrow body aircraft. Schiphol, in co-operation with ITW GSE and Nissan, designed and successfully tested the mobile e-GPUs at the airport a while back. Before the arrival of these new units, there were already eight in use at Schiphol.


Electricity provides fresh air on board

By increasing the use of electrical devices that provide aircraft with fresh air, 50% of the larger types of aircraft will be able to leave the auxiliary engine off at the gate.

This improvement is part of the action plan that Schiphol presented to the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate to limit the use of auxiliary engines.

Schiphol considers this a priority because it brings tangible improvements in working conditions and the health of apron employees.

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