Plugging in to Reduce Airport Emissions
At Southwest, we are committed to Living Responsibly. Our electrification project at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX) does exactly that by reducing emissions in the ramp area.1
In 2016, PHX completed a project that increased the number of electric charging stations available at airport gates. This enables us to reduce airport emissions by powering our ground support equipment (GSE) with electricity instead of diesel fuel. The initiative was undertaken in partnership with Southwest as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) program.
There are lower maintenance requirements with these newer ground support equipment units.
Support Equipment (GSE) at PHX
At the end of 2016, our PHX station included 165 pieces of electric GSE equipment, from belt loaders to pushbacks—the vehicles that move airplanes into position to taxi out. Currently, a combined 89 percent of our eligible ground equipment at PHX—belt loaders, bag tugs, and pushbacks—is electric, cutting emissions significantly and offering other benefits. “The ramp is a lot quieter,” says Rick Waugh, Senior Manager for GSE at PHX. “And there are lower maintenance requirements with these units overall.”
In addition to the PHX project, we took part in infrastructure improvements at Birmingham (BHM), converting 12 pieces to electric GSE. We now have 1,332 pieces of electric GSE systemwide.