The Ground Handling Blog

Mototok's blog for Hangar Professionals

Written by Mototok on May 11, 2017 // 3:00 PM

How to save up to 25,000 € on the repair of GSE


Having to repair your GSE is a time and money swallowing trouble. If you can’t count on your equipment at any time and use it whenever you need to it can seriously harm your business. Here’s what you can do to minimize the risk of having to send your aircraft tugs into repair.

Repair and maintenance of GSE – an overview

While in other industries (for example the automobile industry) manufacturers and users alike strive for the rarest maintenance intervals possible, in aviation a regular and thorough maintenance is crucial. The safety of humans, machines and facilities is one of the main priorities. Annual inspections of GSE are therefore obligatory in nearly every country.

These annual inspections take in fact so much time and effort that a whole industry can live off it. One type of GSE is a particular pain point when it comes to repair.

Electric tugs vs. combustion engine

When it comes to repair and maintenance of GSE there are two main groups: machines with electric motors and machines with combustion engines. Think about domestic appliances and take for example a blender and a lawnmower. The blender is plugged into the socket and that’s it. You don’t have to change parts after some time or refill any fluids or anything – you just clean it after use (everything else would be nasty). With the lawnmower, it’s a little bit different. To get it started you need some kind of fuel, furthermore you will have to change the oil at some point, maybe even exchange some worn parts.

It’s the same with electric and conventional GSE. Electric aircraft tugs, for example, have far less wearing parts than tugs that run on fuel. They are either working or broken – there’s barely something in between. It’s basically plug and play. What has to be replaced after 7-8 years is the battery, though. Whereas conventional tugs need constant care. Oils, filters, gaskets need to be inspected and replaced frequently in order for the machine to work.

Hence, the costs of repair and the annual costs of maintenance are very different for these two groups. The inspection of an electric aircraft tug takes approximately one hour and consists of one single checklist. The maintenance of a conventional tug can take up to several days. It has to be brought to the workshop, serviced, you maybe even have to wait for spare parts… and that adds up:

Repair and maintenance costs of electric and conventional tugs over 8 years (approx.)





Up to 500 €

3,000-4,000 €


Up to 500 €

3,000-4,000 €


Up to 500 €

3,000-4,000 €


Up to 500 €

3,000-4,000 €


Up to 500 €

3,000-4,000 €


Up to 500 €

3,000-4,000 €


Up to 500 €

3,000-4,000 €


Up to 500 € + 3,000-7,000 € for a new set of batteries

3,000-4,000 €

in total after 8 years:

7,000-11,000 €

24,000-32,000 €

And this chart doesn’t even include the financial losses you have in your running business if one of your tugs is out of service.

How to avoid high costs for your GSE repair and maintenance

There are several ways to prevent high repair and maintenance costs for your GSE and most of them are quite plain. One of the most important parts in this is safety. Try avoiding accidents at all costs, make your staff aware of dangers and live up to required safety standards. Read more about preventing ground damage costs here on our blog.

But even if you don’t have an accident sometimes things break down sooner than they have to. Therefore it’s important – as boring as it sounds – to stick to operating manuals and don’t push the machine beyond its limits. A rough way of driving, for example, can seriously damage the gearbox and other elements of a tug or other GSE. That’s why training your staff to use the equipment carefully will help it live longer.

Probably the easiest way to save money on repair and maintenance costs is to buy low maintenance GSE in the first place. Easy as that. Investing in low maintenance equipment whenever you can will save you thousands of Euros and many nerves over the years.

Conclusion to repair of ground support equipment

Repair and maintenance of GSE can be an expensive, tedious and simply annoying part of your aviation business. Investing in low maintenance GSE and treating it carefully can minimize your troubles. From our side, we do our best to refine our Mototoks so their parts wear out less and less – no matter how you use them.

Let’s get together and figure out how you can avoid unnerving repairs in the future!

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