component tool vendors.
Some component maintenance tools are designed and built only by
the designer of the airplane component or assembly. Some examples
of component maintenance for which there may only be one tool vendor
are the overhaul of valves, pumps, and line replaceable units.
GSE manufacturers design, manufacture, and market the large pieces
of GSE used for servicing airplanes. GSE manufacturers are typically
separate from the GSE licensees, although several GSE manufacturers
are also GSE licensees.
GSE primarily is used
to support airplane servicing, airplane ramp operations, airplane
turnaround, and line maintenance operations. The equipment is used
to a lesser degree to support airplane hangar maintenance. GSE is
often large in size and usually located near the airplane. The equipment
is used for many different tasks, such as airplane towing, providing
electrical ground power, lavatory and potable water servicing, engine
starting, baggage and cargo loading and unloading, galley servicing,
air conditioning, and heating.
GSE is complex and can
be expensive to purchase. In many instances, the equipment is offered
with a variety of options that must be considered before actual
purchase. These options may include different types of engines (e.g.,
gasoline, diesel, propane), equipment for cold weather operations,
various power inputs and outputs, and arrangements for spare parts.
When an airline acquires a new airplane, it also receives all the
tool drawings for that airplane. If the airline has the resources
and capability, it can build the maintenance tools in-house. The
tools must be built according to the airplane manufacturer’s tool
drawings. The airline also may opt to have the tools manufactured
by another company, such as a machine shop located nearby.