What Are Common Types of GSE?

Across the globe, thousands of commercial flights are scheduled everyday, and a single airliner will often conduct multiple flights back to back with a tight schedule. To meet the demands of passengers and to ensure minimal downtime between each flight operation, airliners will need to rapidly be serviced, inspected, turned-over, and more. To carry out all the tasks required to prepare an aircraft for its next flight, ground service equipment (GSE) is used. GSE comes in a number of forms, ranging from equipment used to transport baggage to vehicles that provide fuel. In this blog, we will discuss some of the most common types of GSE, allowing you to better be aware of how airliners are serviced.

Pushback Tractors

When an airliner is parked within a hangar or at an airport terminal, it will often require assistance when it is time to be moved. Rather than risk damage and hazards with the use of reverse thrusters, a vehicle known as a pushback tractor or tug will be used. These vehicles utilize a towbar that is attached to the nose landing gear of the aircraft or another section, allowing for the aircraft to be towed as necessary to wherever it needs to go. Oftentimes, the operator of the pushback tractor will remain in constant communication with pilots to ensure safety. 

Belt Loaders

As passengers embark and disembark, it is important that all their luggage and cargo moves along with them. With belt loaders, all baggage and cargo can rapidly be loaded and unloaded from the aircraft bin, and operators are assisted by a conveyor belt and control arm that makes the process easy. Belt loaders will often be a part of a gas- or electric-powered vehicle, and various insulation may be used for sound reduction. As belt loaders utilize various moving rubber parts, it is important that they are serviced and inspected on a regular basis. 

Lavatory Trucks

If the aircraft in question has a lavatory or restroom, then a lavatory truck will be required each flight for servicing. These vehicles feature equipment that allow for the rapid removal of waste, and “blue juice” will be replenished to toilet systems to keep everything clean and bacteria free. Generally, a smaller tank supplies the sanitary fluids, while a larger tank serves as storage for waste. To remove waste, a hose sourcing from the lavatory truck tank will be attached to the correlating waste tank port on the aircraft itself. 

Potable Water Trucks

Potable water trucks are important for replenishing the drinkable water offered on an aircraft, and such trucks will often feature a heater that prevents temperatures from dropping into freezing levels. To effectively deliver water to the aircraft, operators rely on an assembly of pumps, hoses, and couplings that are effectively sealed and insulated. To keep water safe, only approved materials and plastics may be used. Additionally, potable water trucks will implement various rubber bumpers to keep themselves safe from impact forces that may occur during standard operations. 

Container Loaders

Container loaders are similar to belt loaders, though they are generally used for cargo transfers. Container loaders will often be composed of rails, side guides, cross tracks, splitters, and other guidance parts, and the conveyance system will be made up of pivot rollers, ballmats, roller trays, ball transfer units, and more. As container loaders may face collisions during airport operations, they are fitted with molded rubber bumpers like many other forms of GSE. 


Refuelers are one of the most important forms of GSE for aircraft operations, replenishing fuel tanks with the resources they need for flight operations. Aircraft refuellers can come in various forms, either being a fuel truck, hydrant truck, or a cart. Refuelers will provide operators with pumps, filters, hoses, and other equipment needed to provide fuel to the aircraft, and they will often hold upwards of 10,000 US gallons of fuel. As fuel poses a major risk of combustion, there are many safety measures that operators must be aware of when utilizing refuelers, and the process of connecting and disconnecting hoses also requires care and attention for hazard prevention. 


GSE is crucial for the well-being and preparedness of any airliner, thus it all needs to be inspected and maintained regularly. If you have GSE equipment that requires replacement parts, we at NSN Purchasing can help you secure all you are in search of with competitive pricing and rapid lead times. Explore our constantly expanding inventory as you see fit, and you may request quotes on any listed items for your comparisons. Upon our team receiving and reviewing a completed request form, you should expect a customized solution within 15 minutes. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our services, feel free to give us a call or email at any time, and we would be more than happy to assist you as we can!

Recent Twitter Posts

Why Choose Us?

Low Price Warrantied inventory at competitive prices

Find it fast Search the world's largest inventory of electronic components by manufacturer, category or part number

Quality guaranteed We sell only warrantied and traceable parts

Get it fast All inventory ready to ship from our sellers

Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships
Thank You for Visiting NSN Purchasing!

Before You Go, Please Take a Look at NSN Parts Catalog!

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.