American Airlines Transitions to Electric GSE Fleet

First airline to replace fossil fuel GSE fleet in El Paso with electric in air quality non-attainment area.

Published: 15-Mar-2001

FORT WORTH, Texas, March 14 /PRNewswire/ -- American Airlines has become the first airline in the United States to fully replace its fossil fuel Ground Service Equipment (GSE) fleet with electric vehicles at a local airport within a serious clean air quality non-attainment area. The replacement of its diesel vehicles at El Paso International Airport is part of the airline's commitment to maintaining a healthy environment for the communities it serves. This commitment includes a long-term plan to replace 80 percent of its fossil fuel GSE fleet throughout the United States with electric vehicles over the next decade, at a cost of $400 million.

Under this plan, which began in 1996, the airline is giving priority to re-equipping stations in cities with severe air quality issues. For this reason, El Paso received top priority due to the "Serious" non-attainment designation the city has received from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. To help reduce air emissions and improve quality of life in that community, American approached local government officials to discuss the potential of alternative fuel programs.

With the assistance of the Clean Air Coalition of El Paso and the local airport board, American was able to help the city alleviate some of its air quality concerns. In addition to reduced vehicle exhaust levels, the electric GSE fleet will reduce fossil fuel usage and noise emissions. American also implemented a series of innovative new battery-charging techniques that have helped the airline reduce the energy consumption of its GSE fleet by up to 60 percent. As a result, the power drain on El Paso's electric resources will also be substantially reduced.

"American Airlines is proud to spearhead the airline industry's development of alternative fuel programs such as electric-powered GSE," said Tim Ahern, vice president of American's environmental department. "Not only are we satisfying a commitment to our customers and shareholders to operate in the safest, most efficient manner possible, but we are also maintaining our firm desire to preserve and protect the environmental needs of the communities we serve."

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