Managers at the Gatwick airport have commissioned a pair of specially equipped Mercedes-Benz Sprinters to help them meet growing demand from passengers.
The new ‘rover’ vehicles have been assigned to two-man Airside Operations teams whose job is to keep Gatwick Airport’s runway and taxiways clear of Foreign Object Debris (FOD). Small spills of hydraulic oil, or items dropped by passengers, for example, might otherwise cause a costly delay and could even pose a safety hazard.
Gatwick Airport Fleet Manager John Hole said: “We typically handle 950 take-offs and landings per day, with a new aircraft on the runway every 55 seconds during peak periods. This illustrates why the role these new vehicles play is so important. If the taxiways and stands are not kept clear of debris then an aircraft might miss its departure slot, which can have major consequences.”
The new vans have replaced two Sprinters that had performed the same role for the last 11 years. This is the first time, however, that Gatwick has opted for the four-door crewcab variant, which incorporates a four-man bench seat behind the two front seats and means that additional personnel can be ‘scrambled’ to work on larger incidents.