Miles GSE is a Turkish supplier of various types of ground support equipment. Sales & marketing supervisor Engin Dogan tells Airside all about the manufacturer, its background and its plans for the future
Miles GSE was established as part of the Miles Makine Group; what is its role within that Group?
Miles GSE was founded in 1991, and started life supplying ground support equipment to ground handlers.
In the beginning, Miles GSE primarily manufactured truck-mounted units, but as time went on we improved ourselves: today, Miles GSE manufactures self-propelled units as well as electric GSE.
We not only focus on manufacturing and developing high-performing products but we also focus on the reliability and safety aspects of our products.
Headquartered in Istanbul and Bremen, is all your manufacturing undertaken at your factory in Istanbul?
Business/executive-related work as well as product assembly operations is undertaken in Istanbul and Bremen, while manufacturing takes place at our Istanbul and Sakarya factories, which have a total production area of 29,300m2.
While our Istanbul office takes care of the Middle East and Asian markets, our new Bremen office will cater to the European and the Americas markets. This new location will help our clients and us to resolve together any on-site issues that they may face and, needless to say, it is going to help our customers receive answers faster and closer to where they are in Europe.
Thanks to the Turkish aviation industry, particularly Turkish Airlines, we are collaborating with many international aviation service providers, such as [catering company] Do&Co. We have supplied more than 200 units of Miles 5011 catering trucks to Turkish Do&Co alone (Turkish Do&Co is owned by Turkish Airlines and Do&Co).
We have been delivering the same product all around the world since 2010.
How many people does Miles GSE currently employ?
Before the pandemic hit the whole world, we had nearly 200 employees, but due to the unfortunate events that we have all gone through, we had to reduce that number to a little bit more than 150.
However, as the sector and we are now getting back on our feet, the staff complement has risen back to around 180. We are aiming to grow further and we believe that having a strong team is necessary for the achievements that we are planning.
Can you tell us more about your product portfolio?
Although our flagship products are our catering trucks, ambulifts and toilet service trucks, we also manufacture and get really good feedback relating to our baggage tractor (the Volta 25) and we have lots of solutions for apron mobility (including aircraft recovery systems), while we also offer maintenance platforms, both towable and truck-mounted.
We have a wide range of innovative solutions for serving aircraft, such as seat transfer trucks [that enable maintenance crews to change aircraft cabin seats], ladder maintenance trucks and aircraft tyre transfer trucks, all of which were designed and manufactured by Miles GSE.
We also supply electric GSE, and have been working on our very first pushback unit since the start of the pandemic, work which we believe will very soon bear fruit.
Have you expanded or improved your products in any way recently?
Yes. For example, we redesigned our ambulift last year, and it has received lots of good feedback from existing customers as well as entirely new ones.
Our products are constantly in the ‘R&D phase’: we never stop improving our products. At Miles GSE, we always strive for perfection, especially in a specialised sector like aviation.
We have focused on autonomous technology and electric GSE this year, and we believe that this is the future of GSE (though this might not be the case right now for the Middle Eastern and African markets, it soon will be).
Switching from a hydraulic equipment-focused company to an autonomous technology-focused one is not an easy task to complete, but we believe we have been gathering really important milestones along the journey and we are not that far from reaching our goal.
We are also trying to change the ‘standards’ of the sector. Our Miles Volta 25 baggage tractor comes with heating/cooling/air conditioning and a snow plough attachment as standard, for example.
Has the market evolved in any way in recent years that requires you to change your business model or products?
These years are ‘years of change’. The world has never had more divided markets in the same sector as now: while some markets are trying to reach electric GSE and general sustainability goals, others are facing labour problems and a lack of infrastructure for electric GSE. To serve all markets, we are providing solutions for both diesel and electric power as well as both truck-mounted and self-propelled units. One might say that we are trying to be the bridge between both worlds.
I do not believe in luck; I think people create their own luck. Success is not something that can be achieved by doing nothing. At Miles, we are always working hard and providing good service to our customers. When customers leave our offices with a smile on their faces, I feel like we have achieved something.