Thunderlift kicks up a storm

posted on 6th April 2018

Aviogei is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, but it is continuing to develop new GSE for the airport market.

For more than 45 years, Aviogei has been sensitive to the needs of passengers with restricted mobility (PRM). It has always believed that these passengers have the right to be managed in the safest and most comfortable way possible, explains Franco Cesarini, president of the Italy-based manufacturer, which offers a complete range of equipment of its own design and manufacturing to cover all the needs of the GSE market.20. AS_Aut15 - Thunderlift_1

This philosophy in regard to PRM has had a significant effect on the way Aviogei designs equipment dedicated to the handling, embarking and disembarking of PRM, Cesarini explains. Aviogei supplies equipment specifically designed, patented and manufactured for PRM, and not units that represent simple adjustments to standard elevating units. Moreover, he says, these units offer high performance both in terms of the safety and comfort they offer passengers. They also come with specific, innovative, patented technologies, the latest vehicles such as the EA4000FLS and EAU1500FLS being equipped with a sophisticated Front Loading System.

The end of 2014 saw the launch of Aviogei’s new Thunderlift units, offered in two variants – the 4000 and 6000 (the designation referring to the maximum operating height of the lift, as measured in mm). “2015 has been an important time for us because of the launch onto the market of our newly developed Thunderlift PRM vehicle, which will be shown at the forthcoming inter airport exhibition in Munich in October this year,” explains Massimiliano Martone, international business development & marketing manager at Aviogei. “It was immediately a great success. In fact, it has already been sold to airports like Naples, Rome, Brussels and Bucharest, and we are receiving enquiries from all over the world.

“Thunderlift maintains and benefits from the great advantages of Aviogei’s patented Front Loading System, although particular attention has also been paid to the price of the unit,” Martone adds. The price has been kept low by cost savings such as integrating the driver’s cabin into the unit, while still maintaining the same internal space and a bigger front platform than some other PRM units.

Benefits of Thunderlift that he point to include the fact that only one operator is needed for passenger loading/unloading and to operate the vehicle; its ramp lifts from the ground to as high as nearly 6m, making it suitable for a very wide range of aircraft; it offers a very spacious cabin, plus large and stable front platform; good visibility from the driver’s station minimises the danger of collision with the aircraft; the unit can be entirely operated and driven from the integrated cabin using joystick controls; and the unit has been designed to maximise the comfort and safety of PRM.

Furthermore, he adds, Thunderlift has little environmental impact, with the lowest fuel consumption of any of the units of its type. It can also be delivered in quick time by Aviogei following the receipt of any orders.20. AS_Aut15 - Thunderlift_2

The vehicle can take up to 12 passengers in the elevating cabin, and up to four on the front platform. An option on an additional real loading platform is also available.


Aviogei has been in business as an independent company for four and a half decades this year, and there’s plenty to celebrate. As well as its PRM equipment, the company also offers GSE ranging from belt loaders and cargo loaders to passenger stairs, dollies, water vehicles, catering vehicles and lavatory service vehicles.

Cesarini notes that the “high quality standards and reliability of Aviogei products recognised worldwide” has allowed the company to be successful in very specific markets with extremely demanding requirements. For example, as well as private sector clients it also meets the GSE needs of military customers such as the Aeronautica Militare Italiana and other air forces, and has been involved in the cutting-edge F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme with Lockheed Martin.20. AS_Aut15 - Thunderlift_1