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Ground Support Equipment at SAN

Thursday, March 12, 2020


Ground Support Equipment at SAN

Have you ever wondered about all of the equipment required to service planes at SAN? Ground support equipment, or GSE, is essential to our operations. While GSE helps passengers get to and from their destination, it also contributes to our overall environmental impact.

GSE Inventory

Each year the Airport Authority’s Planning and Environmental Affairs Department conducts a GSE Inventory on all of the equipment out on the airfield. The equipment is owned by 33 companies so we rely on our airlines and their business partners to help us conduct this important data collection. The 2019 results are in and there are 830 pieces of GSE deployed airside. Some of the most common pieces of equipment are baggage tugs, belt loaders, and aircraft push back tugs!

The GSE inventory helps us plan for future infrastructure needs, assess our environmental footprint, and identify ways to reduce our impact. In 2019, the Authority was certified by the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program as Level
3+ (Carbon Neutrality for direct emissions)
partly due to our engagement of third-party GSE owners. 

Going Greener

Over the years, our equipment has been getting greener—with 31% of the GSE currently classified as “Low Carbon Emission” (fueled by electricity, propane, or compressed natural gas). On average, the equipment is 13 years old, and we actively encourage our tenants and their contractors to use newer and greener equipment. For example, through a partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric the Authority is helping American Airlines upgrade their electric vehicle charging stations on the airfield. When equipment is plugged in on SAN’s airfield, it’s powered with 85% renewable solar energy!

Get in the Know

If you’d like to learn more about what the Planning and Environmental Affairs team is up to, please visit or