The Goldhofer booth: where the action is at inter airport Europe Ground handling goes electric and digital

Visitors show keen interest in forward-looking e-mobility and digitization solutions

For Goldhofer Airport Technology, this year’s Inter Airport Europe was a highly satisfactory event: more visitors to the booth, more talks with users and a significant increase in specific enquiries. The main factor in this positive development was the focus adopted for Munich by the full-range supplier on future-oriented ground handling systems. The presentation of the first towbarless electric tow tractor by the name of »PHOENIX« AST-2 E, for example, and also the scenarios presented in the Future Zone attracted significantly more international visitors than in previous years. “The surge in interest in our e-mobility solutions took us slightly by surprise. Instead of taking a break after the trade show, the motto now is: ‘Time to roll our sleeves up!’,” says Christof Peer, Goldhofer’s Sales Director Airport Technology.

At this year’s Inter Airport Europe the Goldhofer booth was a veritable hive of activity: Visitors crowded around the Goldhofer trade show building to see the tow tractors on display, and the meeting rooms and Future Zone were equally busy. In addition to the premiere of the »BISON« D 1500 conventional tractor, which is capable of towing aircrafts in the A380 class, the prototype of the »PHOENIX« AST-2E with »IonMaster« technology, which was also introduced at the show for the first time, was met with keen interest too. With the addition of this workhorse, which also operates on lithium-ion batteries, the technology pioneer from Memmingen and Ostfildern now boasts a full range of emission-free tow tractors. The »BISON« E 620 conventional tow tractor and the »SHERPA« E cargo and baggage tow tractor also drew crowds and test drives were available in the Drive Zone to give visitors a first-hand experience of their impressive agility and maneuverability.

Another busy area was the Future Zone, with its focus on change to progressive ground handling systems and efficient vehicle operations. On the basis of individual customer requirements (aircraft types/weights, towing distances, gradients, tractor power/range, etc.), visitors were able to evaluate the efficiency of Goldhofer’s electric tow tractors and, with the help of an efficiency calculator, determine such items as the total operating costs of the »SHERPA« E models compared to diesel-powered vehicles. Many were surprised to see how quickly a customized »SHERPA« with electric drive pays off compared with other types of drive. The future zone also showcased Monitoring Dashboards and Predictive Maintenance solutions which Goldhofer is exploring in the near future. They provided visitors with real-time information on operating data such as motor status, charge level, speed, etc., of the »SHERPA« E being driven a few meters away in the Drive Zone and of a »PHOENIX« towbarless tractor plus upcoming maintenance and servicing requirements. The latter is currently in use in day-to-day operations at Munich Airport.

In view of the increasing number of emission-free airports worldwide and the growing need for stable charging infrastructures and intelligent connectivity, Goldhofer Airport Technology has positioned itself as a complete provider of e-mobility and digitization solutions. “We see the highly positive response from our customers and prospects at Inter Airport Europe as confirmation of the wisdom of the path we have taken. For a future-oriented approach to ground handling, it is not enough to simply invest in electric vehicles. A combination of innovative apron vehicles and intelligent airport design is essential to ensure both sustainable and economical operation,” says Lothar Holder, CEO at Goldhofer AG and Head of Airport Technology.