Last year, Textron GSE launched at the Ground Support Equipment Expo in Las Vegas with its GSE brands TUG, Douglas, Premier and Safeaero. In what ways has this boosted the company’s GSE business?

Jerry Derusha: By pulling together as Textron GSE, we have been able to leverage the knowledge and capabilities of each brand to build a more dynamic company. We offer robust solutions that address every customer’s needs, whether related to equipment, global maintenance and service packages, or fleetmanagement software.

We have five manufacturing facilities in four countries – two in the US and one in Sweden, the UK and China – to drive localised customer solutions that are backed by a global enterprise. This type of reach was not possible for any of the brands on their own.

What are some of the products Textron GSE provides for the aviation industry?

JD: Textron GSE provides the aviation industry with a broad range of products to meet ground support needs. On the equipment side, Textron GSE offers open and closed-bucket de-icers, belt loaders, conventional and towbarless pushbacks, baggage and cargo tractors, air starts, air conditioners and ground power units.

Our range of products is CE and CAAC-certified to operate in Europe and China. We also offer gas, diesel and electric engine options. Textron GSE equipment also focuses on safety with the new Smart Sense system for TUG belt loaders, which has been designed to protect aircraft and operators on the ramp in addition to the anti-collision system on the de-icers.

We also offer maintenance and service packages, training packages, rentals and refurbishment, and aftermarket parts.

Seasonally, de-icing is a focus for ground handlers right now. Could you tell us about the range of Textron GSE’s de-icing products?

JD: The company has a wide range of de-icing equipment to fit the needs of regional and major airports, as well as various aircraft ranging from business jets to the Airbus A380.

If customers’ needs are based on volume of fluid capacity, Textron GSE has the 250gal Premier Hot Shot Series, up to the 3,400gal Safeaero 220 Models. If aerial lift range is required, Textron GSE accommodates 4.6-25.9m working height.

Finally, if specific options are needed for ramp operations, its de-icers offer air assist, on-board blending, fluid management systems, anti-collision systems, enclosed basket and single operator options. No matter what a customer’s de-icing requirements are, we have the products to meet them.

How do these compare with the offerings from competitors?

Michal Hak: Textron GSE offers 15 different models of de-icers to meet the needs of any customer. We have high-quality, lower-cost options of de-icers with the Premier de-icer brand, and a premium offering with the Safeaero 220 series of de-icers, which is the safest single operator model on the market. Premier de-icers also boast Express Heat technology – the fasted heating in the industry.

What are some of the innovations the industry is currently seeing in de-icing equipment?

MH: Over the past several years, there has been a focus on products that are environmentally friendly and safe for the operator and aircraft. To address these trends, Textron GSE has focused on product updates, such as the recently updated Safeaero 220 series. The upgrades include a new preventative de-icing and anti-icing system, which provides hot (40°C) antiicing fluid instantly at the nozzle. This eliminates the need to flush the pipes before hot anti-ice fluid reaches the nozzle, saving money, time and the environment.

What exciting happenings can we expect to see from Textron GSE in the next few years?

MH: Textron GSE continues to grow and adapt to changes in the industry. With the addition of our manufacturing facility in Wuxi, China, we are excited to be closer to our Asian customers, while still growing with our North American and European customers.

Through our parent company, Textron, we are able to leverage the know-how and experience in fleet management as well as the internet of things. This has given Textron GSE a great opportunity to build software that incorporates our entire products and services catalogue.