Telford, UK-based Aviramp has begun offering greener versions of its range of mobile, walk-through boarding bridges for narrowbody and widebody aircraft
The new suite of ramps, fitted with solar panels, delivers the traditional benefits of the existing Aviramp product range with the added advantage of producing zero emissions when the units are moved under power.
Solar-powered equipment is not entirely new to Aviramp. In fact, it has been offering its Lite unit (for ultra narrowbody aircraft) in a solar-powered option for the last couple of years. But now, all five of Aviramp’s ramp models – Lite, Domestic, Regional, Continental and International – are available as part of the manufacturer’s full solar suite. These ramps can serve aircraft right up to A380 size.
“Many airports have wanted to invest in electric/solar alternatives for some time and we have worked with the industry and listened to their concerns regarding emissions and sustainability,” says Terri Smart-Jewkes, Aviramp’s global sales and marketing director, recalling the thinking behind offering the new suite.
“We trialled the solar Continental in Eindhoven and worked with the operations team there to deliver an industry standard,” she adds.
For when the solar panels are not sufficiently charged, each unit also has a mains electric charging system fitted as standard.
But, says Smart-Jewkes, the solar ramps are designed to be as self-sustaining as possible even when massive amounts of sunshine are not available. “We can add more panels if the operator is located in a region of low daylight hours or bad weather. We can also produce units with dual power options – diesel/electric – as required.
“The appetite for buying ‘electric/solar’ is evident in the swathe of incoming orders [for the new equipment], the most recent being from Lyon-Saint Exupéry Airport in France with their 11 solar Continentals and a solar Regional to drive operational efficiencies there.”
Plus: “Danish Airport Aarhaus Lufthavn has just placed an order for a solar Continental, and three more are pending here in the UK for Newcastle International Airport. So the solar Continental is clearly a firm favourite and one of our most popular models, given its versatility,” Smart-Jewkes considers.
As mentioned above, Aviramp has offered a solar Lite model for some time now, and these are in operation at the UK’s Birmingham, Southampton, and Highlands and Islands airports, as well as in continental Europe, most notably in Corsica at Figari-Sud Corse and Ajaccio Airports.
Says Smart-Jewkes: “This product is the most innovative and directly responsive to the needs of the sector. There is no other GSE like it on the market today, with its zero emissions and raft of benefits including its one-person operation and the fact that it is completely maintenance free. The cost savings to the investor alongside its zero emissions are wins for both the environment and sustainability.”
And it seems that her enthusiasm is shared by customers. Maurice Boyle from Loganair, a regional airline based at Glasgow Airport, says: “Loganair is proud to partner with HIAL [Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd] and Aviramp to bring this revolutionary yet simple device into service, to ease and speed the boarding process for PRM [passengers with reduced mobility] and able-bodied customers alike, across our highland and island network where many of our customers fly Loganair to attend NHS appointments at mainland hospitals.”