Boarding a flight at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport yesterday, I was surprised to see that our air stairs had solar panels (they are the dark panels on the side of the stairs in this photo – sorry for the poor quality, it was a Blackberry camera).
I am guessing that they charge batteries for inbuilt lighting at night. They are a part of KLM’s broader environment strategy but, as I have said before, these small things do all make big differences. In fact, at airports all over the world, operators are investing in new ground service equipment (GSE) that is either emissions-free, or reduces emissions significantly. GSE is one of those parts of the aviation industry which is often overlooked by passengers (although they use it every time they fly), but is very important to airport operations.
Just a few weeks ago, an alliance of eight airlines stationed at Los Angeles Airport signed an agreement to run their GSE on biodiesel instead of fossil fuel from 2012.