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3 Air quality presents a multifaceted issue of concern to airports, their surrounding commu- nities, and other stakeholders, in the U.S. and globally. Airport and airline operations result in the emission of various air pollutants from numerous sources, including aircraft engines, ground support equipment, passenger and employee vehicles, rental cars, shuttle buses, ground vehicles in general, and generators. EPA regulates the emission of six criteria air pollutantsâozone (O3), particulate matter (PM), lead (Pb), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2)âdetermined to have adverse impacts on human health and welfare. The emis- sion of these criteria pollutants, through activities that involve burning fossil fuels, are regulated under the Clean Air Act. In addition to concerns about local air quality, the aviation industry acknowledges its con- tribution to global climate change through the emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels (Air Transport Action Group 2018). While there are no federal regulations requiring U.S. airports to limit or reduce their green- house gas emissions, there are some reporting requirements at the federal and state levels (see Code of Federal Regulations [Environmental Protection Agency 2009] and California Code of Regulations [California Air Resources Board 2009]). Many airports are taking proactive steps to address these impacts and better manage their carbon footprints. Other countries are also implementing restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has developed the Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint from interna- tional aviation. Airlines are taking steps to reduce greenhouse gases from their operations, as well. Their efforts include developing and promoting sustainable aviation biofuels through the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative and setting industrywide climate targets and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals (Air Transport Action Group 2018). Airlines have incentive to reduce their emissions for both regulatory and economic reasons. Fuel is one of the largest costs to an airline. Reducing fuel use reduces costs and produces fewer emissions. Regulatory requirements, airport policies and goals, economics, community concerns, and other factors combine to form a strong motivation for airports and airlines to examine all opportunities to reduce air-pollutant emissions from their operations. One way in which airports have facilitated the reduction of emissions from operations is the installation of electric ground power and PCA, collectively referred to as gate electrification systems. These systems provide cleaner power for aircraft while parked at the gate, as opposed to aircraft using jet fuelâpowered, auxiliary power units or mobile, diesel-powered, ground support equipment. The acquisition and installation of gate electrification equipment represents a significant investment, with great potential for both economic and environmental benefits. On-site C H A P T E R 1 Introduction
4 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports challenges, which prevent these systems from being utilized to the maximum extent possible, frequently occur at airports. This project sought to identify those barriers and impediments to use, as well as to establish a common methodology for tracking utilization over time to help industry stakeholders improve performance and realize the potential economic and environmental benefits of use. The objective of this report and accompanying productsâthe Utilization Tracking Method- ology and the Self-Assessment Checklistâis to assist airports and airlines with identifying and understanding the factors that contribute to the use or non-use of gate electrification systems and the potential solutions to improve system optimization. 1.1 Background As airports seek to manage and reduce air emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases, they often examine both direct (airport-owned) and indirect (non-airport-owned) emis- sions sources to identify improvement opportunities. Airports directly control emissions sources such as airport-owned vehicle fleets, generators, electricity consumption in buildings, and cor- porate travel. With regard to indirect sources controlled by tenants, the most significant source of both criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions is aircraft. Airports and airlines have been working to further reduce emission of criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gases through the installation of gate electrification systems, which allow aircraft to supply their power needs from airport-provided electricity while parked at the gates. Aircraft are powered by their main engines during flight but require energy to power onboard systems and provide cabin heating and cooling while on the ground. Aircraft are equipped with auxiliary power units (APUs) not only to provide the power necessary to start the main aircraft engines (the APUâs primary purpose) but also to supply onboard power continuously to support aircraft electronic systems and cabin conditions. Like main aircraft engines, APUs are gas turbine engines powered by jet fuel and, as a result, emit air-pollutant emissions and greenhouse gases. Gate electrification systems can minimize aircraft use of APUs and related emissions. These systems include heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) capabilitiesâreferred to as PCAâand ground power (400 Hz or 28-volt direct current). PCA and ground power sys- tems are often both installed on jet bridges to provide gate electrification. By using electricity from the airport instead of the jet fuelâpowered APU, airlines can reduce criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. Airports can likewise reduce the emission of these pollutants on site. While providing electricity to PCA and ground power equipment still results in emissions (from the power plant supplying the electricity), the amount of emissions is often lower than that produced by APUs or diesel-powered mobile units due to fuel types used in power-generating facilities and local emissions factors (i.e., natural gas versus jet fuel or diesel). Presumably, there are other efficiencies in the use of building-fed systems, and some portion of the electrical supply may be fed from grids connected to clean energy sources. Airports have worked in collaboration with FAA, airlines, and other stakeholders to obtain funding and garner support for the acquisition and installation of gate electrification systems. Utilizing and maintaining these systems require a collaborative effort between many airport stakeholders. Although the air quality benefits of using electric ground power and PCA instead of APUs are well understood, these systems are not always fully utilized. This report includes background information on the basic components of gate electrifica- tion systems and equipment (Chapter 2), challenges affecting gate electrification system utilization and a self-assessment tool for identifying challenges (Chapter 3), practical solutions
Introduction 5 to address utilization challenges (Chapter 4), and a common Utilization Tracking Methodology (Chapter 5). Finally, Chapter 6 includes several case studies to provide insight into gate electri- fication system configuration, acquisition and installation factors, maintenance best practices, and other insights at airports of various sizes and climates. 1.1.1 Environmental and Regulatory Context Ensuring that their operations do not place an unacceptable burden on the environment is a priority for airports, often including a strong focus on local air quality. During this research, several airports reported that their neighboring communities showed interest and awareness with regard to the potential impacts of airport operations on local air quality and public health. In addition to addressing community concerns, airports are subject to federal and state regu- lations with regard to air quality. Regulatory considerations may motivate airports to seek opportunities to reduce emissions of air pollutants from all sources at the airport, including from ground operations. Federal Clean Air Act Under the Clean Air Act, EPA regulates the concentration of six air pollutants determined to have adverse impacts on human health and welfare. These six criteria pollutants are CO, Pb, NO2, O3, PM, and SO2. These pollutants are emitted from burning fossil fuels, including from the operation of vehicles and aircraft. EPA sets standards for acceptable concentrations of each criteria pollutant through the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The NAAQS are determined through vigorous research and set the limits for each of these pollutantsâknown as primary standardsânecessary to protect public health. They also set the levels necessary to protect public welfare (i.e., negative impacts on soils, buildings, animals, visibility, crops, and so on), known as secondary standards (Environmental Protection Agency 2017). Areas that exceed the limits set by the primary and secondary NAAQS for each criteria pollutant are designated as nonattainment areas; conversely, areas that meet all primary and secondary standards are considered in attainment. Additionally, nonattainment areas are further classified into several levels based on the level of exceedance of the NAAQS and listed from least to greatest exceedance (e.g., marginal, moderate, serious, severe, and extreme). States with nonattainment areas for any of the six criteria pollutants must develop plans to reduce emissions levels for those pollutants to meet the national standards through state implementation plans. It is particularly important for those areas of the country that are in nonattainmentâor maintenance areas (recently emerged from nonattainment)âto reduce the emissions of the des- ignated air pollutants. FAA encourages airports located in nonattainment or maintenance areas to reduce pollutant emissions through the designated grant programs (described in Section 1.1.2). National Environmental Policy Act In addition to the air quality standards set forth in the Clean Air Act and NAAQS, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)âenacted in 1970ârequires the federal government to under- take environmental reviews of all major actions that have significant impacts on the environment. As a federal agency, FAA must evaluate and disclose the impacts of certain airport projects on the environment, including impacts on air quality (FAA 2015A). As a result, airports often must develop air emissions inventories for projects that require an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement, as per NEPA. Airports may also be subject to state or local air quality regulations and requirements beyond those required by the Clean Air Act and NEPA.
6 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports Climate Change Initiatives and Regulations Airports are increasingly aware of their global impact with respect to climate change and are, thus, taking innovative steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. While there are no federal regulations requiring airports in the U.S. to limit or reduce their CO2 emissions, there are federal reporting requirements for facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) or more on an annual basis (Environmental Protection Agency 2009). Many airports that have taken steps to address their greenhouse gas emissions are doing so voluntarily. As of October 2018, for example, 39 airports in North America were participating at one of the four levels of the Airport Carbon Accreditation Program (Airport Carbon Accredita- tion 2018). To achieve accreditation for the last three levels, airports must have a plan in place to manage and reduce CO2 emissions and must be able to demonstrate an average annual reduc- tion in CO2 emissions. Another significant component of the program at higher levels involves airport engagement with stakeholders and tenants to reduce non-airport-controlled emissions, such as those from APUs and mobile diesel-powered PCA and ground power units (Airports Council International âEurope 2018). At the international level, the ICAOâof which the United States is a memberâhas implemented two resolutions to address greenhouse gases from international aviation. The first resolutionâ the Consolidated Statement of Continuing ICAO Policies and Practices Related to Environmental Protection: Climate Change (A37-19)âpassed by the ICAO General Assembly in 2010, consisted of a high-level roadmap for greenhouse gas reductions and included language requesting mem- ber states to voluntarily develop state action plans to reduce greenhouse gases from international aviation (Tetra Tech EBA 2014). While this resolution does not require states to focus on reducing APU emissions, ICAO members and industry stakeholders have taken a comprehensive approach to emissions reductions. FAA developed the U.S. plan, which includes measures to reduce green- house gases from aviation (both domestic and international) by implementing more efficient air- frame and engine technologies, carrying out more efficient operations, and advancing alternative (nonpetroleum-based) jet fuel (FAA 2012). The Canadian State Action Plan specifically includes language addressing emissions from APUs by promoting the use of electric PCA and ground power. The second ICAO resolutionâCORSIA (A39-3)âis designed to reduce emissions from international aviation through emission tracking and the purchase of carbon offsets. These ini- tiatives support ICAOâs mid-term goal of carbon-neutral growth from 2020 (i.e., no growth in CO2 emissions after a certain date). Again, while this resolution does not specifically target emissions from APUs, those emissions must be considered if the industry is to reach the ambitious carbon-neutral growth goal. 1.1.2 Economic Considerations Airports and airlines interviewed for this project overwhelmingly agreed that the benefits of gate electrification systems, such as lower fuel and APU maintenance costs and air quality benefits, outweigh the costs of the equipment. Despite this broad agreement on the benefits, airports and airlines must consider the costs associated with the procurement, installation, operation, and maintenance of gate electrification systems during the planning process to ensure a sustainable investment. The reduction in fuel costs associated with replacing aircraft APU use with gate electrifica- tion equipment is one example of an economic benefit to airlines. Furthermore, APUs are not designed for extensive use. Overuse of APUs results in increased maintenance and additional costs associated with having an aircraft out of service. Therefore, airlines also consider the cost savings associated with less-frequent APU maintenanceâand, subsequently, less aircraft time out of serviceâwhen APU use is replaced by gate electrification systems.
Introduction 7 A variety of funding mechanisms can be used to procure gate electrification equipment, as well as to cover costs associated with installation of the equipment and any utility infrastructure upgrades necessary for its operation. Airports and airlines fund the purchase and installation of gate electrification equipment through the following mechanisms or some combination of such mechanisms: â¢ Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants: AIP is funded through taxes imposed on the purchase of aviation fuel and on fees paid by airlines. AIP funds are appropriated annually by Congress and can be distributed to airports for a variety of planning and development proj- ects. (Project eligibility is described in detail in FAA Order 5100.38D, the Airport Improvement Program Handbook.) â¢ Voluntary Airport Low Emissions (VALE) program grants: The VALE program is designed for airports that are located in EPA-designated nonattainment or maintenance areas (see Section 1.1.1.). VALE grants are awarded on a competitive basis to eligible airports based on funding availability and other factors, including anticipated emissions savings and cost effec- tiveness. Eligible project types for VALE funding include alternative fuel vehicles, gate electrifi- cation (PCA and ground power), remote ground power (for remain-overnight remote parking positions), and electric or alternative-fueled ground support equipment. As of September 2018, the FAA VALE program has funded 54 projects related to gate electrification (PCA and/or ground power installations) at 39 airports. These 54 projects make up more than half of the 105 VALE grants made at this time to 51 airports, making gate electrification the most common type of VALE project implemented by a majority of the airports (FAA 2018). The collection of case studies in Chapter 6 of this report includes examples of airports that have used VALE grants to acquire this equipment, as well as those that have used other means. â¢ Passenger facility charge revenue: Passenger facility charges are fees imposed by airports per enplaned passenger. Use of these funds requires FAA approval before expenditure. Eligible projects include those that improve the safety, security, and capacity of the air transportation system; increase competition among air carriers; or reduce and/or mitigate noise. â¢ Airport rates and charges: Airport rates and charges are fees assessed on aeronautical users of the airport. â¢ Airline investments: At some airports, airlines own gates (or have owned them in the past), have exclusive use leases for gates, and have funded the acquisition and installation of gate electrification systems. â¢ Nonaeronautical revenue: This category is defined as revenue generated from nonaeronauti- cal activities at an airport, such as parking fees, concessions, ground transportation service provider fees, and so on. This project included a review of funding mechanisms used by case study airports to deter- mine if a correlation between system financing and utilization rates exists. The research did not find a link between these two variables, as there are not enough available data on utiliza- tion rates to determine if such a relationship exists. While airports that used VALE grants for PCA and/or ground power projects do have an obligation to track the use of the equipment to determine the reduction in air pollutant emissions, there was no comparative data set to determine if a correlation exists. Due to the large investments by many stakeholders (including FAA, airports, and airlines), there is significant interest in determining if and how these systems are being used. The impor- tance of quantifying return on investment, as well as impact on air quality, are two reasons why determining utilization of the systems is important. There are resources available to airports to determine the costs and benefits of installing gate electrification systems. Two such resources are ACRP Report 64: Handbook for Evaluating Emissions and Costs of APUs and Alternative Systems (Environmental Science Associates 2012)
8 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports and the Airports Council InternationalâWorld Aircraft Ground Energy SystemâSimulator (AGESâS), which enables users to calculate the economic and environmental benefits of replacing the use of APUs with gate electrification systems at their airport. Outputs of the AGES-S tool are intended to provide customized information that can be used by airports seeking to develop a business case for investment in gate electrification systems (Airports Council International 2018). These tools are useful for determining the business case to install PCA and ground power equipment, but they do not provide methodology for determining utilization once the equipment has been installed. 1.2 Description of Research Approach The research teamâs approach to developing this report followed a task-by-task process, which involved reviewing existing research and references to ascertain the current state of understanding on challenges affecting airport gate electrification system utilization. The literature review was followed by an extensive stakeholder outreach process. The multistakeholder engagement process was designed to identify and analyze the chal- lenges and barriers to optimal utilization, as well as to document the practices that may increase utilization rates. As described in this section, the assembly of relevant stakeholders from air- ports and airlines yielded critical information for developing the report. By design, stakeholders encompassed a variety of partiesâincluding airport environmental, operations, and mainte- nance staff; airline corporate representatives; pilots and station managers; service providers (e.g., ground handling companies and fixed-base operators); and equipment manufacturersâwith differing motivations and priorities to obtain as many perspectives as possible. As a platform to engage with these diverse stakeholder groups, the researchers conducted two in-person focus groups and 15 case studies via web-based interviews with U.S. airports and one airport in Zurich, Switzerland. The team also interviewed a variety of equipment manu- facturers and additional industry stakeholders. To gather additional stakeholder insights, the focus groups and case study interviews were followed up with web-based surveys sent to both airports and airline pilots. Based on the input received from the focus groups, case studies, and surveys, the most com- mon challenges and barriers to optimal system utilization were identified, along with possible solutions to the challenges. In addition, an example Utilization Tracking Methodology was designed for airports to monitor gate electrification utilization. A self-assessment tool was also developed to provide airport and airline practitioners with a simple approach to identifying the factors that affect the use of gate electrification at their specific airports and determining solutions to address those challenges. The various engagement methods and stakeholder groups are described in the following sections. 1.2.1 Focus Groups The initial industry-engagement activities took the form of in-person focus group meetings held at DallasâFort Worth International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport. These meetings were structured to encourage open dialogue and participation from all attendees. Attendees included airport environmental, operations, planning, and maintenance staff, as well as airline personnel and service providers. The focus groups were intended to identify the chal- lenges and barriers to PCA and ground power utilization, the root causes of each challenge, and potential solutions or best management practices to solve the problems identified.
Introduction 9 Each focus group took place over several hours. The discussion included topics such as human factors, system and component design factors, training and communication, technology factors, maintenance factors, and climate impacts. The outcome of the focus groups was a baseline understanding of the factors affecting gate electrification system utilization that was used to develop the airport and pilot surveys, as well as to guide discussions in the subsequent case study interviews. 1.2.2 Case Studies In addition to the in-person focus group meetings, the research project involved a series of web-based case study interviews with 13 airports. (Case studies were also prepared for the two focus group airports, for a total of 15 case studies). The case study airports were specifically selected to include a diverse range of airport sizes and geographic locations. The intent of the airport case studies was to: â¢ Explain and demonstrate the factors involved in the decision to acquire and install gate electrification infrastructure; â¢ Identify the variables affecting utilization; â¢ Determine successful methods for stakeholder engagement and collaboration; â¢ Recognize financial considerations; â¢ Identify factors that inhibit deployment and use of gate electrification equipment, as well as opportunities to overcome these factors; and â¢ Represent a range of airports with regard to VALE status and the extent of gate electrification systems in place at the airport. Airport staff were asked to gather some information in advance and to participate in a 1-hour web interview, ideally including staff representatives from multiple relevant departments, in addition to airline representatives or any other interested stakeholders. The case study ques- tions were provided in advance and subsequently discussed during the interview to obtain all relevant information. Each case study summarizes key airport facts, gate electrification system configuration, financial and regulatory considerations, as well as challenges and/or best practices identified for that airport. The case studies and surveys (described in Section 1.2.3) illustrate that most airports are not systematically tracking utilization of these systems. 1.2.3 Surveys The third stakeholder outreach effort involved electronic surveying. Two online surveys were administered through Survey Monkey, a web-based platform designed for custom survey administration. (A summary of responses are included in Appendices B and C.) One survey was developed for airport respondents to gain additional insights beyond those gathered during the focus groups and case study interviews (see Appendix B). The second survey was developed to obtain the perspective of airline pilots (see Appendix C). As pilots have ultimate responsibility for and control over the aircraft (and, therefore, decisions with regard to the use or non-use of gate electrification systems), their input was critical to understanding how to address utilization challenges. The questions on both surveys were developed based on feedback received during the focus groups and case study interviews, along with input from the ACRP project panel. The ques- tions for airports included those on systems and equipment in place at the airport, how the systems were acquired and financed, how they are operated and maintained, what the barriers
10 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports to utilization are, whether utilization tracking occurs (and if so, by what means), and other best management practices. The airport survey was distributed through the Airports Council InternationalâNorth America Environmental Affairs Committee and the American Association of Airport Executives Environmental Services Committee. Thirty-four airports responded to the survey, six of which were also either focus group or case study airports. Therefore, information was obtained from 28 additional airports. The focus groups, case studies, and airport survey collectively resulted in information gathered from 43 individual airports. The airport survey responses were analyzed to determine the most commonly cited challenges to utilization, best practices, and utilization tracking practices. According to survey results and case study interviews, the majority of airports are not tracking utilization of electric PCA or ground power. The exception are those airports that have utilized VALE grants, and those airports are focused on estimating emissions savings as opposed to system utilization. The pilot survey was distributed to individual airline representatives, along with staff at the Air Line Pilots Association, a trade association for commercial airline pilots. The airline representa- tives were asked to distribute to their pilot colleagues. Air Line Pilots Association staff offered to distribute the survey to one focal point in each airline pilot union in their membership, with the request that those individuals then distribute to the pilots within their own organizations. More than 200 pilots responded to the survey. Although the majority of responses (>80 percent) came from pilots employed by one particular airline, the research team found that the responses of pilots from the dominant airline were very similar to responses provided by pilots employed by other airlines. Therefore, the pilot survey results were retained. The pilot responses are summarized in Appendix C. 1.3 Airport and Airline Stakeholders As mentioned in the section above, a variety of relevant stakeholders are involved in the deci- sion to acquire, install, operate, maintain, and use electric PCA and ground power systems. The exact stakeholder mix is expected to vary from airport to airport, but, in general, critical groups include airport management; environmental, operations, and maintenance personnel; airline corporate and airport-based staff; ground crews (either airport or third-party service providers); and pilots. This section briefly describes the various audiences for this report. 1.3.1 Airport Stakeholders â¢ Management and Finance: Airports are often the owner and maintainer of gate electrifica- tion equipment and systems (although sometimes airlines own these systems). Airport senior leadership and finance departments are involved in the decision to acquire gate electrification systems, and they must determine how to fund the purchase of the equipment. The airport (or airlines) may require a costâbenefit analysis before purchasing the equipment, and a key assumption in costâbenefit analyses is that the equipment will be maintained in good working order and used by airlines in lieu of APUs. Airport management and finance departments are, therefore, one target audience for this report and have an interest in understanding how to evaluate gate electrification systemsâ use, as well as the factors that may contribute to the use or non-use of the equipment. â¢ Environmental: Airport environmental departments are typically responsible for under- standing the airportâs contribution to local air quality and, in many cases, developing air pollutant and/or greenhouse gas emissions inventories. Airport environmental staff often
Introduction 11 collect data and report performance related to environmental and sustainability goals that the airport has taken on. This reporting may require knowledge of emissions from aircraft while on the ground, as well as electricity and fuel use of airport-owned facilities and equip- ment. In addition, for airports that have received VALE grants for PCA and ground power equipment, airport environmental staff may be tasked with tracking the use of these systems to estimate emissions savings. â¢ Facilities and Maintenance: This category includes both in-house facilities and maintenance personnel (airport employees), as well as third-party service providers who are contracted by the airport to maintain gate electrification systems. Maintenance personnel are critical to ensuring that gate electrification systems are operable and returned to service quickly when repairs or replacements are needed. Many of the common challenges that affect utilization of these systems directly affect airport maintenance personnel. For example, misuse and accidental damage of gate electrification equipment can result in a higher workload for airport maintenance staff due to more frequent repair and replacement needs. In many cases, airport maintenance personnel are responsible for maintaining multiple systems with competing priorities for repair (e.g., baggage conveyance systems or other electrical systems). Addressing higher numbers of work orders related to gate electrification equipment can result in delays in the recovery of other systems and lead to staff resource constraints. â¢ Operations: Airport operations staff work closely with airlines, as well as airportâor contractedâmaintenance personnel to ensure a safe and efficient operating environment. When gate electrification equipment is out of service, the first point of contact for the air- lines is often airport operations, who, in turn, alert maintenance departments. Airport opera- tions staff are also involved when aircraft need to use airport-owned mobile ground power or PCA units at gates or remote parking positions. 1.3.2 Airline Stakeholders Airline stakeholders reported a strategic objective to make available and use PCA and elec- tric ground power at as many of their stations as possible to reduce APU operating cycles and operating hours. â¢ Pilots: Airline pilots are ultimately responsible for the safety and operation of their aircraft, as well as the comfort of the passengers. Pilots make the decision whether, when, and how long to utilize electric PCA and ground power and when to use the APU. Pilots reportedâvia the survey and in individual conversationsâthat they will use electric PCA and ground power when it is available and effective, and many airlines have policies in place requiring the use of electric systems, when available, in lieu of APUs. However, pilots must make the decision based on local conditions and passenger comfort. Pilots fly into multiple airports, and, there- fore, experience varying levels of equipage and reliability of gate electrification equipment. â¢ Ground Crew: Airport ground crewsâeither airline employees or third-party ground crews contracted by the airline[s]âoperate the gate electrification equipment and are responsible for proper connection of the aircraft. As such, they are critical stakeholders. They also com- municate with pilots and airport staff with regard to the status of the equipment. According to the information gathered during the research process, ground crew often mishandle the gate electrification equipment, which results in equipment damage and unavailability. â¢ Airline Corporate Staff and Station Managers: Expenditure on jet fuel is often one of the largestâif not the largestâcosts incurred by airlines. Therefore, airlines have a strategic objec- tive to minimize fuel use, including APU use, where possible. Airline corporate staffâdefined as airline staff not assigned to a particular airportâmonitor fuel use across the fleet and at individual stations (i.e., airports). All of the airlines interviewed for this project reported the
12 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports existence of some corporate policy in place requiring or encouraging the use of electric PCA and ground power when available, as an alternative to running the APU. In some cases, airline corporate staff will directly communicate with airline station managers or pilots when APU use is higher than normal, particularly when those aircraft are operating to or from airports with gate electrification equipment in place. 1.4 Summary of Findings This project resulted in the identification of several common challenges affecting the use of gate electrification systems and potential solutions to address these challenges. In addition, there are three key findings from this research. First, airports and airlines share the strategic objective to optimize the use of gate electrifica- tion equipment and minimize APU use both to save on fuel costs and APU maintenance and to reduce emissions of criteria air pollutants and greenhouse gases. Because this is a shared objec- tive, there is an incentive for stakeholders to work together to improve system utilization. Second, airports generally are not tracking gate electrification system utilization. Airports that have received VALE grants for the procurement of their systems do track equipment use for the purpose of estimating emissions reductions. However, those airportsâ activities are not focused on understanding whether equipment is being used to the maximum extent possible, and, if not, what the barriers to full utilization may be. Other airports reported that they do not track utilization because informal observations indicate that ground power and PCA equipment are being used frequently. The research team was unable to obtain historical or current ground power and PCA system utilization data from either airports or airlines, either because this infor- mation is not tracked or was not in a format that could be shared with the research team. The intent of the Utilization Tracking Methodology described in Chapter 5 is to serve as a simple tool to enable airports to more easily estimate utilization rates of their gate electrification equipment, and, therefore, to more accurately identify causes of non-use and appropriate solutions. Third, communication between stakeholders is key to solving these challenges. Most of the solutions identified do not require significant investment in new technology or equipment, but they do require an investment of time and the collaboration of stakeholders. For example, air- ports typically provide and maintain the gate electrification equipment while the airlines operate it. Therefore, a cooperative approach is required to successfully address many of the challenges listed in this report and to improve system utilization rates.