American Airlines Introduces Solar-Powered Ground Service Equipment

May 06, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

American Airlines (Dallas, TX) has introduced what they claim is the industry's first solar-powered ground service equipment. The new solar-powered equipment includes two fueling carts at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the first of 13 to be deployed throughout American's operations in Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. American plans to introduce more solar-powered fueling carts into service at numerous airports throughout the US as traditional vehicles are normally replaced.

Each solar-powered fueling cart is 16 feet long, weighs 8,000 pounds, lifts up to 13 feet in the air, pumps 900 gallons of fuel each minute, and powers itself at up to four miles per hour. When the sun is not shining, the act of fueling a plane allows the cart to recharge its onboard batteries through electric alternators connected to its fuel-pumping system. American reports that the solar-powered carts have substantially lower operating costs than traditional equipment.

“We're proud to lead the industry in pioneering clean technologies," said Tim Ahern, American's vice president of safety, security and environment. “Through investments in solar, electric and other innovative technologies, American has made a clear commitment to the environment and the communities we serve through a balanced, sustainable approach to our business practices. Environmental stewardship is responsible business."