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36 Actionsâor solutionsâto address the challenges described in Chapter 3 were identified during this research project through discussion with airports, airlines, pilots, and equipment manufacturers. The solutions are organized into high-level categories that correspond closely with those used to organize the challenges in Chapter 3 and include: 1. Stakeholder Engagement, 2. Operation of Equipment, 3. Maintenance of Equipment, 4. Resource Allocation, 5. Climatic Factors, and 6. Data Collection and Automation. The solutions are organized into the categories based on the predominant type of action described in each solution (Table 2). In addition, each solution may address challenges in more than one category. For example, Solution 2: Convene meeting for stakeholders to discuss data sharing, is included under the Stakeholder Engagement category. But it can be effective at addressing operations and maintenance-related challenges, as well. The solutions are further categorized as ânear-termâ or âmedium- to long-termâ actions. This distinction reflects the relative level of effort expected to implement each solution. For example, within the Stakeholder Engagement category, Solution 1: Identify and utilize existing opportunities to discuss status of gate electrification equipment, is a near-term action that can be implemented quickly (and without the expenditure of significant staff or financial resources). In contrast, Solution 3: Convene stakeholders to review performance and develop improvement action plans, is an action that likely requires more resources and greater coordination between stakeholder groups and, therefore, has a longer expected implementation timetable. The numbering of solutions is for identification purposes (to assist users in matching chal- lenges with solutions) and not an indication of priority or importance. Most of the solutions do not include information that assigns responsibility to specific stake- holder groups for implementation. Many solutions may be implemented by more than one group at a given airport, depending on the ownership structure of the equipment, airportâtenant rela- tionship, lease terms, and the role of third-party service providers, among other factors. 4.1 Stakeholder Engagement Communication between stakeholders is important to facilitate gate electrification system utilization. Communication between ground crews and the maintenance providers, as well as between ground crews and pilots is essential for ensuring awareness of system availability, for example. Lack of effective communication between these parties with regard to broken or mal- functioning equipment and subsequent notification when service has been restored can result in confusion and suboptimal system use. Lack of effective communication from ground crews to pilots with regard to system availability may result in pilots choosing to start and/or leave the APU operating. C H A P T E R 4 Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges
Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges 37 (continued on next page) Operation of Equipment 4 Verify operatorâs (ground crew) knowledge of established airline standard operating procedures and policies with regard to use of ground power and PCA. 5 Verify that operatorâs (ground crew) training is effective and frequent enough to ensure the proper and safe handling and storage of systems and equipment. 6 Reduce variability in ground crew training regimens and airline policies to enhance consistency. 7 Verify individual operatorâs knowledge and competence in identifying andreporting damaged or inoperable equipment to appropriate stakeholders. 8 Employ technologies to track an individual operatorâs use of the gate electrification equipment to enhance accountability. 9 Provide visual cues on proper use and storage of equipment and system status. 10 Obtain ground crew verification of the aircraft ground power receptacleserviceability. 11 Develop an operational performance (or compliance) report identifying findings of knowledge, competence, training, and staffing levels of operators. 12 Develop standard training video(s) or computer-aided instruction for equipment operators. 13 Install equipment designed to address common operational challenges. Maintenance of Equipment 14 Verify maintenance providerâs knowledge and competence in performing established manufacturer maintenance standards. 15 Adhere to a preventative maintenance program. 16 Maintain comprehensive maintenance records. 17 Share maintenance records or reports with additional stakeholder groups, such as airlines, airport finance and leadership, or other stakeholders, as appropriate. 18 Maintain critical spare parts inventory. 19 Ensure dedicated maintenance personnel coverage at all times. 20 Implement policy to visually tag out-of-service equipment. 21 Verify the serviceability of the aircraft ground power receptacle. 22 Complete a maintenance audit of existing gate electrification systems, equipment, and critical spare parts inventory. 23 Review adequacy of seasonal changeover dates for central PCA systems. 24 Verify that actual maintenance personnel staffing is in accordance with established staffing levels. 25 Consider implementing automated means of identifying, tracking, reporting, and sharing maintenance data and equipment status. Resource Allocation 26 Foster airport and airline collaboration to identify and address staffing shortages. 27 Create a capital development program, and identify funding sources to allow for renewal, replacement, and right-sizing of gate electrification equipment. Climatic Factors 28 Review airline actions to maintain adequate aircraft cabin temperature when ambient air temperature exceeds the design limits of the PCA system. 29 Develop policies and procedures to ensure safety while minimizing ramp closure time in the event of inclement environmental conditions (e.g., danger of lightning strike during electrical storms). Solution Category Number Solution Description Stakeholder Engagement 1 Identify opportunities to discuss status of gate electrification equipment during existing meetings of stakeholders to raise awareness. 2 Convene a meeting for airport and airline stakeholders to discuss enhanced data sharing. 3 Convene stakeholders to review performance and develop improvement action plans. Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges Table 2. Solutions to address utilization challenges.
38 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports Regular communication between airlines and pilots with regard to corporate policies on APU use and follow-up communication when anomalies are detected can increase prioritization of gate electrification system use. Finally, opening lines of communication between airport and airline stakeholders with regard to gate electrification system use, data needs, and availability can lead to more collaborative approaches to improving utilization. 4.1.1 Near-Term Solutions 1. Identify and utilize existing opportunities to discuss status of gate electrification equipment. Consider adding the discussion of gate electrification equipment status and utilization issues as a standing agenda item to monthly station manager meetings and other local airport stakeholder meetings. This discussion will raise awareness among stakeholders of system availability, equipment that experiences frequent maintenance issues, scheduled or unexpected repairs, replacement timelines, and so on. 2. Convene a meeting for airport and airline stakeholders to discuss enhanced data sharing. This proposed action can help relevant stakeholders (i.e., operations and maintenance departments, information technology system personnel, and tenant airlines) understand what data are currently being captured with regard to gate electrification use, availability, and reliability. It will also identify data that airlines are collecting with regard to APU use while at gates equipped with electric PCA and ground power. The purpose of such a meeting (or meetings) is to: â Jointly determine strategies to facilitate data sharing across stakeholder groups to better support critical decision making relevant to achieving higher utilization; â Identify current challenges with regard to system utilization that would benefit from more deliberate sharing of existing information, and establish procedures for sharing these data sets; â Identify immediate actions that could be implemented to automatically capture and share data from existing gate electrification systems. These actions may include installing metering equipment, adding and activating sensors to system components, establishing a common electronic data repository, and expanding data access to additional authorized users to broaden data consumption; and â Evaluate existing software platforms currently in use by stakeholders that could be altered or upgraded to more effectively capture, report, and disseminate data across the trusted stakeholder groups. 30 Design and procure PCA systems that enable redirection of conditioned air from the aircraft to the jet bridge. 31 Research methods to enable use of air diverted from the passenger terminal as the intake air for the PCA system. 32 Design and procure PCA systems considering projected climate and weather data to account for climate change. Data Collection and Automation 33 Establish gate electrification equipment utilization tracking program. 34 Convene meeting of stakeholders to review existing software systems and sensors or other technologies that could enable the automated tracking and reporting of system utilization. Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges Table 2. (Continued).
Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges 39 4.1.2 Medium- to Long-Term Solutions 3. Convene airport and airline stakeholders to review performance and develop improve- ment action plans. Once existing opportunities to share information and data have been identified and implemented, airports may consider convening all relevant stakeholders to collabora- tively review related items that the data may help inform. These items may include existing system and equipment utilization data, airline policies and state of repairs with regard to equipment use, training curriculums, staffing standards, and communi- cation protocols. The purpose of this activity would be to assess how each stakeholder group can: â Refine existing programs and practices to improve utilization; â Develop more efficient and effective training and familiarization programs; â Develop more effective personnel hiring practices and performance qualification standards; and â Streamline approaches to tracking, reporting, and sharing information to effectively address challenges as they arise while using existing personnel and systems. 4.2 Operation of Equipment As discussed in Chapter 3, a majority of airports and airlines interviewed and surveyed for this research project reported that operator error or misuse of equipment is a factor that affects gate electrification utilization. Accidental damage to equipment by operators results in equipment being out of service for repair and, therefore, unavailable to aircraft. The actions described in this section address these operational challenges. 4.2.1 Near-Term Solutions 4. Verify individual operatorâs (ground crew) knowledge of established airline standard operating procedures and policies with regard to use of ground power and PCA. Depending on the ownership arrangement of gate electrification equipment and the entity providing ground services, this action could be accomplished by the airport, air- line, or third-party contractor, as appropriate. The entity undertaking this action should obtain the relevant airline state of repairs for connecting aircraft to equipment and the equipment manufacturersâ instructions for use, including any manufacturer-specific state of repairs. The simplest way to implement this action is to observe actual perfor- mance of ground crew in the field, including recording the time it takes to complete the tasksâsuch as connecting aircraft to PCA and ground power equipmentâand noting whether equipment is used and stored properly. If undertaking an observational study, observers should consider the effect of their presence on the performance of ground crew (i.e., if staff are aware that an observer is evaluating their performance, they may alter their behavior in response). The objective of this activity is to ensure that individual ground crew personnel and supervisors demonstrate knowledge and competence in connecting aircraft to gate elec- trification equipment, as per established airline policies and manufacturer guidance (e.g., within a specified period of time after aircraft arrive at the gate). If operators are not com- plying with airline and equipment manufacturersâ state of repairs, the ground crew training program content and instructions should be reviewed to ensure that they are in accordance with existing policies and guidance.
40 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports 5. Verify that operatorâs (ground crew) training is effective and frequent enough to ensure the proper and safe handling and storage of systems and equipment. During the research for this project, airports and airlines frequently reported high ground crew turnover as a challenge to ensuring adequately trained personnel. Airports and air- lines can review the content and frequency of trainingâincluding new-hire training and refresher training for existing staffâto determine if it is adequate to ensure an effective and knowledgeable ground crew, taking into consideration the rate of employee turnover. This solution includes actions to: â Verify that training program course content and instructions are in accordance with manufacturer-defined proper and safe operation and handling of systems and equipment; â Collaborate with equipment manufacturers and installers to provide live trainingâon site at the airport or at a manufacturing facilityâto airport and airline ground handling personnel; and â Implement âtrain the trainerâ instruction in which there are one or more certified on-site trainers responsible for training new personnel as designated trainers, enabling basic familiarization. If a local training program, such as âtrain the trainer,â has been established, airport and airlines should verify that the training program course content and instruction is in accordance with manufacturersâ requirements for current equipment (i.e., in the event that any PCA or ground power equipment has been upgraded or modified since the training program was developed). The gate electrification equipment owner (typically the airport) can bring equipment manufacturers on site to provide periodic training, as well. In some cases, airport staff provide some training to ground handlers to reinforce proper procedures for using PCA and 400 Hz ground power equipment. For example, Denver International Airport staff trains one to two staff from each airline on the proper operation of equipment, occasion- ally arranging for equipment manufacturers to provide additional training. The airlines are then responsible for training their own ground crews, resulting in a consistent and well-trained ground crew. Once the proper training content, delivery mechanisms, and frequency have been established, the airport and airline(s) should update state of repairs to include this guidance and ensure that it is being implemented (e.g., through performance reviews). 6. Reduce variability in ground crew training regimens and airline policies to enhance consistency. Third-party companies that provide contracted ramp services to multiple airlines at an airport are often required to comply with multiple airline state of repairs, resulting in train- ing challenges. Communication and coordination between the ground services provider, airlines, and the airport to standardize training requirements and system operation can result in more consistent and aligned procedures being provided to ground crews serving more than one airline. This consistency, in turn, minimizes the chance of operator error or lack of compliance. The resulting consistent state of repairs can be written into contracts between the service provider and the airline (or airport). 7. Verify individual operatorâs knowledge and competence in identifying and reporting the status of damaged or inoperable equipment to appropriate stakeholders. The airport or airline can determine if individual ground crew personnel demonstrate knowledge of proper reporting procedures to communicate damaged or inoperable equipment to the airline operations staff and appropriate airport stakeholders. This deter- mination can be accomplished through observation of practices, review of maintenance
Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges 41 requests (e.g., identify who made requests, when requests were made, and whether duplicate requests were made), or by interviews with individual operators. Ground crew super- visors should reinforce the importance of following established reporting procedures when directing staff. Prompt reporting of damaged equipment enables maintenance providers to address the problem and return equipment to service more quickly. 8. Employ technologies to track an individual operatorâs use of the gate electrification equipment to enhance accountability. This action can be accomplished through the installation of digital equipment locks with individual employee keys, passcodes, or key cards required to use the equipment. This solution allows for more accurate assignment of responsibility for operation of the equipment, correlates component use with possible damage, and increases awareness of individuals using the equipment. Similar technology may also make it possible to disallow equipment use for operators who have not been trained. It also enables the system owner or maintainer to resolve maintenance costs and seek reimbursement from the tenant responsible for damage, when warranted. 9. Provide visual cues on proper use and storage of equipment and equipment availability. The airport or airline can consider installing placards that depict the proper posi- tion to connect equipment such as cables, hoses, and so on to the aircraft, as well as the proper storage of such equipment between uses. For example, placards that instruct ground crew not to use the emergency shut-off switch on equipment can be promi- nently displayed. The airport or airline could also include the gate electrification equipment status on the ramp information display system. Pilots will be able to see the status of the equip- ment in real time, which should minimize miscommunication resulting in APU use (Figure 14). Figure 14. Typical ramp information display system (Source: Frederick Roe, ADB Safegate).
42 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports 10. Obtain ground crew verification of the aircraft ground power receptacle serviceability. Ground crew must ensure that the ground power cable head has been properly connected to the aircraft and that the ground power unit is energized and operating. If the connection is verified but the aircraft does not receive ground power, the ground crew should notify the appropriate contact (airport operations or maintenance department) of the situation, following local maintenance service request protocols. The maintenance service request should also include a test of the aircraft power receptacle serviceability to determine whether there is a problem with the aircraftâs ability to accept ground power. If airline maintenance staff or approved parties verify that the individual aircraftâs power receptacle serviceability is in working order and a problem manifests itself on a subsequent aircraft using that gate, then a problem may exist with the electric ground power equipment. In this case, ground crew should notify the maintenance provider and request an immediate test of the ground power equipment. 4.2.2 Medium- to Long-Term Solutions 11. Develop an operational performance (or compliance) report identifying findings of knowledge, competence, training, and staffing levels of operators. Based on findings from solutions involving verification of knowledge, competency, and training programs for equipment operators, the airportâor other appropriate stakeholders, such as the airline or contractor providing ground power servicesâmay develop a comprehensive report that summarizes results to create an action plan that addresses identified deficiencies. The report could be used to convene a meeting of all stakeholders to focus on systemic issues that were identified and justify additional budget requests to address remedial training, staffing shortages, or other issues that have an impact on system utilization. 12. Develop standard training video(s) or computer-aided instruction for equipment operators. Computer-aided and/or video-based instruction could be provided by the equipment owner on the proper operation and storage of gate electrification equipment to all opera- tors, regardless of which airline or company they serve. For example, many airlines pro- vide their state of repairs on training software that automatically enrolls all personnel into required training classes and then records when the employee has successfully com- pleted their assigned training. Stakeholders may consider collaborating on the develop- ment of a computer-aided training course or video to include content on the importance of prioritizing gate electrification equipment over APUs when available, as well as best practices for operating systems and safeguarding equipment. One airline interviewed for this research project reported using videos to train ground crew and emphasize the importance of using gate electrification equipment from an environmental and fuel- saving standpoint. The research did not uncover examples of collaborative approaches to producing training videos for all operators at one airport. 13. Install equipment designed to address common operational challenges. As discussed in Chapter 3, operator error is a common occurrence that can negatively impact system utilization. Equipment manufacturers have developed and improved prod- ucts to help combat some common issues, such as PCA hose kinks and cable damage. Examples include: â PCA hose reels that dispense more accurate lengths of hose needed (to prevent excess hose from gathering on the ramp), which reduces the risk of kinks and prevents the hose from getting run over by a jet bridge or ground support equipment (Figure 15);
Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges 43 â Hose extensions for servicing aircraft with the PCA connector located near the rear of the aircraft (Figure 15); â In-ground storage of power cables to prevent components from being run over and damaged (Figure 16); â Ground cable hoists and cable head stands to ensure that cables are properly stored prior to jet bridge operation, as well as to preclude cables from being run over; â Equipment with startâstop controls that are intuitive and prominent to avoid the use of emergency stop buttons; and â Insulated hoses that minimize the loss of cooled or warmed air along the length of the hose as air is delivered to aircraft. Figure 15. Twist Aeroâs Boom-Air Hose Management System ( left ). ITW GSE PCA hose reel with extension reels (right ) (Source: Twist Inc. and ITW GSE). Figure 16. 400 Hz ground power underground pit system (Source: Fleuti and Ruf 2018).
44 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports 4.3 Maintenance of Equipment Systems and equipment must be adequately maintained to ensure availability and reliability and, thus, achieve optimal utilization. A number of maintenance solutions and best practices were identified through stakeholder engagement conducted throughout this research proj- ect. Although airport staff typically maintain these systems, in some cases third-party service providersâeither contracted by the airport or airlineâor equipment manufacturers provide maintenance services. The following actions can be considered by appropriate stakeholders to address maintenance-related challenges. 4.3.1 Near-Term Solutions 14. Verify maintenance providerâs knowledge and competence in performing established manufacturer maintenance standards. The airport or other appropriate stakeholder can assess individual maintenance per- sonnel to ensure that they demonstrate knowledge and competence of gate electrifi- cation equipment maintenance standards in general and any systems that are unique to the individual airport. If a local training program has been established (e.g., train the trainer), the airport or stakeholder responsible for maintenance of systems should verify that the maintenance staff training program course content and instruc- tion is in accordance with the manufacturerâs requirements and, if necessary, pro- vide manufacturer training programs to new hires and periodic refreshers for existing maintenance personnel. 15. Adhere to a preventative maintenance program. Like other equipment, ground power and PCA components should be inspected and maintained according to a regular preventative maintenance schedule to avoid operational failure. Preventative maintenance programs consist of planned activities at set intervals designed to prolong the useful life of equipment. Preventative maintenance and quality control practices are intended to resolve problems before they lead to equipment mal- function. Most airports interviewed for this project reported having a preventative main- tenance program in place for gate electrification equipment. And some airports reported performing quarterly maintenance, in addition to annual, comprehensive, preventative maintenance of their units. Preventative maintenance on jet bridges and gate electrification system components can be completed at night and during off-peak hours to minimize time out of service. In addition, maintenance providers should consider the use of retrofit devices intended to decrease maintenance needs for aging PCA systems (e.g., a screen or filter outfitted to prevent PCA hose insulation from entering the aircraft air duct should insulation separate from the hose during normal wear). 16. Maintain comprehensive maintenance records. Comprehensive maintenance records enable staff to identify problems that result from accidental damage to and misuse of the gate electrification equipment, compared to equipment failure for other reasons (e.g., equipment that reaches the end of its use- ful life). Accurate historical system-specific maintenance data are useful for ensuring that spare parts are stocked on site when possible, while providing additional context concerning the expected life span of various equipment. Periodic review of mainte- nance logs and work orders yields insight into expected useful life of the equipment and assists with long-term planning for equipment replacement, staffing levels, and bud- geting. In addition, sharing maintenance reports and records with other stakeholders may raise awareness of system availability and provide justification for the replacement of equipment or stockpiling of spare parts, for example. Computerized maintenance
Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges 45 management systems (CMMS) can help manage records and are discussed in more detail in Solution 25. 17. Share maintenance records or reports with additional stakeholder groups, such as airlines, airport finance and leadership, or other stakeholders, as appropriate. Maintenance departments that collect and maintain extensive maintenance data should find a means to summarize, communicate, and share this information with other relevant stakeholders within and outside of their organization. Data transparency may lead to additional support for maintenance efforts, while providing baseline data to other stakeholders to inform budgeting and investment decisions. For example, airlines can work with airports as partners to advocate for appropriate maintenance contracting, ground crew staffing, system-renewal schedules, and so on if they have access to data that demonstrate the age and reliability of systems at the gates they use. A CMMS can also assist with the dissemination of maintenance records to multiple stakeholders. 18. Maintain a critical spare parts inventory. Airports that maintain an on-site critical spare parts inventory for PCA and ground power equipment can restore systems to working order quickly without waiting on spare parts to ship from off-site locations. A number of factorsâsuch as the current or planned consumption rate of components, failure rates, and costsâshould be consid- ered when estimating appropriate inventory levels. The procurement process required for replacement parts, combined with the shipping time for their arrival on site, leads to preventable delays in maintenance and extends the time that the gate electrification system is out of service. These delays result in the need for pilots to run onboard engines to maintain passenger comfort at the gate. Airports may consider maintaining backup mobile ground power and PCA units in stock to use while repairs are being made if spare parts are unavailable. It is even more critical to maintain spare parts for older equipment due to decreased availability of parts or of units no longer in produc- tion by manufacturers, which leads to additional delays in bringing equipment back into service. 19. Ensure dedicated maintenance personnel coverage at all times. Insufficient staff availability and prioritization of maintenance of gate electrification sys- tems can result in extended critical system outages. Ensuring that dedicated maintenance teamsâthose with specific knowledge of the gate electrification systemsâare on site during main operational hours or on call for off-peak hours to service PCA and ground power systems leads to consistency and reliability of systems and minimizes down time. Major maintenance work on gate electrification systems required to adhere to preventative main- tenance programs can be completed by a specialized maintenance team at night or during off-peak hours to avoid daytime disruptions to operations. 20. Implement policy to visually tag out-of-service equipment. Maintenance staff should perform regular equipment inspection using a checklist of all system components and visually tag any equipment that is out of service to allow for easy visual identification of equipment status by all parties. This allows for targeted maintenance responses and elimination of redundant maintenance action requests while increasing awareness as to when equipment is back in service (as the tag will be removed after repair). 21. Verify the serviceability of the aircraft ground power receptacle. Airlines should regularly use test devices that verify the serviceability of aircraft ground power receptacles, which serve a similar purpose as test devices used by ground service equipment maintenance personnel but on the cable head side (e.g., go/no-go gauges and load bank). Alternatively, airlines could consider permitting airport maintenance personnel to use an airline-approved test device to verify the serviceability of the aircraft ground power
46 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports receptacle to mitigate potential cases of ground power connection failure due to faulty aircraft ground power receptacles. If a receptacle is found to be faulty, airlines should request notification of this outcome, along with the tail number of the aircraft to alert their aircraft maintenance staff of the faulty receptacle and to schedule repair of the receptacle. 22. Complete a maintenance audit of existing gate electrification system(s) and equipment. A maintenance audit (commonly referred to as a âspot checkâ program) is intended to evaluate overall existing maintenance practices and procedures, including work order tracking, spare parts inventories, staffing levels, and ordering systems compared to pre- scribed procedures and practices. An audit helps identify opportunities for improve- ment. The results of a maintenance audit should be reported to relevant stakeholders and can serve as a basis for the request of supplemental funding, if appropriate. Funding may be required to address any existing backlog of outstanding work orders (i.e., to provide augmented staffing, overtime, and repair parts acquisition). The maintenance provider can request a meeting with stakeholders to address systemic issues identified in the audit. 23. Review proposed winter and summer central PCA system changeover dates in advance of conducting future changeovers. Centralized PCA systems are often programmed to switch from heating to cooling in con- junction with seasonal changes, rather than being readjusted daily. This adjustment often results in aircraft running APUs during shoulder seasons when the ambient temperatures are less predictable and there is greater variability between temperature swings throughout a 24-hour period, providing less predictability from day to day. This uncertainty often results in a mismatch between the PCA output temperature and the needs of the aircraft. Airports and airlines should coordinate a review of seasonal weather patterns to come to a consensus on changeover dates and further determine if the central PCA system can be modified to allow more flexibility in adjusting temperatures to respond to aircraft needs. In addition, airports should confirm that they provide advanced notification of the changeover date to airlines to ensure communication to pilots of the local airport situation with regard to the availability of PCA. 4.3.2 Medium- to Long-Term Solutions 24. Verify that actual maintenance personnel staffing is in accordance with established staffing levels. The equipment owner or maintenance provider should verify that maintenance staffing levels are sufficient to provide timely repair of gate electrification equipment. This informa- tion may be one of the outcomes of the maintenance audit. If maintenance staffing levels are not adequate, additional actions include: â Determining the appropriate level of staffing to enable prompt attention to repairs of gate electrification equipment and systems; â Collaborating between airport operations, maintenance, and human resources departmentsâothers as appropriateâto evaluate recruiting and hiring practices, and implementing necessary changes to keep pace with actual staff turnover rate; and â Determining whether salaries, benefits, and advancement opportunities are sufficient to encourage staff commitment and reduce staff turnover rate. 25. Consider implementing automated means of identifying, tracking, reporting, and sharing of maintenance data and equipment status. Some airports have obtained or designed equipment capable of automatically uploading information from gate electrification systems into the airportâs CMMS. These systems are
Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges 47 valuable for observing whole system operability and quickly identifying any maintenance needs. Maintenance and technician history can also be held in the CMMS, and equipment audits can be obtained. Additional information on CMMS can be obtained through the ACRP Web-Only Document 23: Guidance on Successful Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS) Selection and Practices. 4.4 Resource Allocation The provision of sufficient resources, including staff and funding, is required not only to acquire and install gate electrification equipment but to ensure that it is right-sized for the aircraft using it, well maintained, reliable, and promptly replaced when it reaches the end of its useful life. 4.4.1 Near-Term Solutions 26. Foster airport and airline collaboration to review resource (staffing and funding) needs. While airports do not have control over airline staffing budgets, staff levels and airline commitments can help inform investments by the airport. This action can take the form of a meeting between the airport finance department, other airport departments (such as opera- tions, maintenance, planning, engineering, and human resources), and the airlines to review existing staffing levels and operating budgets. Review will help to determine whether staff- ing and budgets are adequate, as well as determine capital projects required to ensure the availability of gate electrification systems. Stakeholders should identify appropriate funding levels for staffing and equipment acquisition, system operation, and maintenance, and iden- tify funding mechanisms necessary to address near-term solutions to challenges identified during the review process. 4.4.2 Medium to Long-Term Solutions 27. Create a capital development program and identify funding sources to allow for installa- tion, renewal, replacement, and right-sizing of gate electrification equipment. The design, acquisition, and installation of electric ground power and PCA systems repre- sent a significant expense for airports, regardless of whether FAA VALE fundingâor other grant programsâare available. The airport and airlines should discuss the current and forecasted airline gate needs to develop appropriate long-term funding and development plans for associated gate electrification equipment, which necessitates the involvement of airport finance, planning, and engineering departments. This action also includes the consideration of the costs and benefits associated with providing electrical power infrastructure to remote aircraft hardstands that are used for overnight parking, as well as for scheduled flight operations served by passenger busing operations. Mobile, electric (battery-powered) GPUs can be considered as an interim solution for providing clean power to aircraft parked at remote hardstands, which are less costly than construction associated with running electrical conduit to these locations. 4.5 Climatic Factors While airports and airlines cannot control the weather, there are some measures that stakeholders can take to mitigate certain impacts that weather and climate have on system use.
48 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports 4.5.1 Near-Term Solutions 28. Review airline actions to maintain adequate aircraft cabin temperature when ambient air temperature exceeds the design limits of the PCA system. Some airlines reported taking steps to maintain comfortable aircraft cabin tempera- tures when ambient temperatures are very warm or very cold to minimize APU use when possible. These actions include: â Raising or lowering cabin temperature prior to arrival at the gate to compensate for the loss of conditioned air upon opening the aircraft for deplaning and servicing; â Requesting that passengers lower all cabin window shades and open the air vents above their seat prior to deplaning; and â Providing air curtains at aircraft doors used by aircraft catering or cabin cleaners, which minimizes the loss of conditioned air while aircraft is being serviced. 29. Develop policies and procedures to ensure safety while minimizing ramp closure time in the event of inclement environmental conditions (e.g., danger of lightning strike during electrical storms). Airports and airlines can collaborate to ensure consistent policies and procedures with regard to the conditions that provoke ramp closures. They should also include informa- tion for ground crew about when it is safe to reopen the ramp after an event. In regions where it is warranted, stakeholders might consider adoption of systems that sense the potential for lightning. These systems have been deployed by airports and airlines to pro- vide greater precision in detecting hazardous conditions. They serve as a feasible solu- tion, since they allow for timely ramp evacuation, as well as efficient restoration of ramp operations. 4.5.2 Medium to Long-Term Solutions 30. Design and procure PCA systems that enable redirection of conditioned air from the aircraft to the jet bridge. This is a system design solution to ensure that sufficiently cooled and conditioned air is immediately available to an arriving aircraft during periods of high ambient temperatures. Essentially, a diverter redirects the conditioned air from the PCA hose into the jet bridge to provide additional jet bridge cooling between aircraft operations. The diverter enables the crew to disconnect the PCA hose from a departing aircraft (at pushback) without turning off the PCA system, particularly when the next aircraft has arrived and is waiting to pull into the gate. Once the first aircraft has departed and the second has arrived, the PCA hose is then attached to the arriving aircraft and conditioned air is redirected through the PCA hose. Conditioned air is immediately available to the arriving aircraft, which results in pilots avoiding use of the APU. This type of system is currently being tested by at least one airline, which has informally reported that the system is effective at keeping aircraft cool up to ambient temperatures of 110Â°F. However, this type of system may not be appropriate or feasible to implement at all airports (i.e., airports located in mild climates may not find this necessary). System owners may undertake a costâbenefit analysis to determine if this type of system is a feasible solution. 31. Research methods to enable use of air diverted from the passenger terminal as the intake air for the PCA system. Most PCA systems use outside air for intake. When ambient temperatures are either very hot or very cold, PCA systems may not be sufficiently powerful (i.e., right-sized) to effectively heat or cool the intake air required for the system, which often comes directly
Solutions to Address Utilization Challenges 49 from the ramp area. The possibility of using conditioned air from passenger terminals as the intake air for PCA systems should be explored, as such air is already conditioned and well within the intake air temperature design limits of the systems. This type of system modification (i.e., recirculation configuration) requires further examination to determine its feasibility, air quality impacts, and conformity with National Fire Protection Associa- tion (NFPA) codes and standards. A costâbenefit analysis could determine the potential cost savings, saved APU operating hours, and air emissions benefits. 32. Consider projected future climate and weather in the design and procurement of PCA systems to account for climate change. Airports, airlines, and equipment manufacturers should consider projected future climate and weather patterns to account for climate change when determining the type and size of PCA equipment needed. For example, the hottest 4 years on record have occurred since 2014 (World Meteorological Organization 2018). If stakeholders only rely on histori- cal weather data when determining the required heating and cooling load, then the system may not be able to handle future heating and cooling needs. 4.6 Data Collection and Automation A lack of data with regard to gate electrification equipment use can contribute to a knowl- edge gap among stakeholders pertaining to the impact of various factors on utilization rates. This gap, in turn, can impede efforts to address challenges and often prevents the optimization of system utilization. 4.6.1 Near-Term Solutions 33. Establish a gate electrification equipment utilization tracking program. Airports or airlines can begin monitoring and reporting gate electrification use to develop an understanding of current utilization rates and changes over time. This assessment will assist stakeholders in determining the effectiveness of various solutions on improving utilization. This effort can be accomplished using the basic Utilization Tracking Methodology described in Chapter 5, in conjunction with the accompanying Excel spreadsheet or by other means, depending on airport resources and capabilities (specifically, if airports have technology in place to capture use data). To begin track- ing utilization, some or all of the PCA and ground power equipment must be equipped with hour meters. 4.6.2 Medium- to Long-Term Solutions 34. Convene meeting of airport and airline stakeholders to review existing software systems and sensors that could enable automated tracking, reporting, and dissemination of system utilization data. This solution involves collaboration among stakeholders to evaluate the benefit of retro- fitting or augmenting existing gate electrification systems and software platformsâsuch as building automation systems or CMMSâto track equipment utilization and availability. For example, SeattleâTacoma International Airportâs central PCA system data were inte- grated into the airportâs existing building automation system through a custom software interface developed in coordination with the equipment manufacturer. This integration allows the airport to monitor the PCA equipment status and use in real time, enabling staff to quickly identify problems and better adjust the PCA system components to meet operat- ing conditions and needs of aircraft. This capability allows the airport to monitor multiple
50 Optimizing the Use of Electric Preconditioned Air (PCA) and Ground Power Systems at Airports components of the system, such as system mode, air temperature, ambient temperature, and gates that have equipment in use, among other variables. In addition, SeattleâTacoma International Airport is pilot testing ADB Safegate SafeDock automated docking systems at some gates, which can be used to track the amount of time aircraft are at each gate and, thus, enable the airport to understand overall PCA and ground power utilization rates better. Further details with regard to SeattleâTacoma International Airportâs system are described in Section 6.13. Stakeholders can collectively evaluate the costs and benefits of acquiring such capabilities when gate electrification equipment and systems are replaced or upgraded. Conversations with stakeholders will help to further evaluate the feasibility and effort associated with inte- grating various systems in the airport environment.