Airport Ground Support
Equipment Resources

General Driving Fact Sheet

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Purpose: To provide guidance for the safe driving of ground support equipment (GSE) on the Airport Operating Area (AOA).


  • Must have valid driver’s license.
  • Employers are responsible for training employees on the safe use of ground support equipment. Employees are responsible to their employers for following procedures as trained in the use of ground support equipment.


  • Perform pre-operational inspections.

General Driving:

Potential Hazards:

  • Equipment malfunction
  • Obstructions (e.g. chocks, other equipment, etc.)
  • Ramp congestion
  • Environmental conditions
  • Surface conditions
  • Distraction
  • Speeding
  • Driving into aircraft path on the ramp or the Aircraft Movement Area (AMA)

Possible Solutions:

  • Complete a pre-operational inspection.
  • Remove equipment from service when items are found that could affect safe operation.
  • Maintain situational awareness.
  • Pay special attention to the clearances required by the vehicle’s length when driving.
  • Maintain appropriate vehicle distance spacing.
  • Never pass vehicles traveling in the same direction at intersections, blind spots, or other hazardous locations.
  • Maintain awareness of changing weather situations.
  • Check for fluid or contaminants in the driving path.
  • Be seated in a regular seat designed for passenger or driver use with seatbelt(s) secured except while driving in the footprint of the aircraft.
  • Never use personal electronic devices such as headphones or cell phones while driving or performing other tasks.
  • Operate the vehicle at a safe speed, following all published speeds, and reduce speed as appropriate for surrounding conditions.
  • Always yield to aircraft. Be aware of the AMA boundary markings.

Footprint of the Aircraft (Gate Area): Potential Hazards:

  • Jet blast and ingestion with operating engines
  • Ground level obstructions (e.g., chocks, fuel pits)
  • High level obstructions (e.g., people, equipment)
  • Propeller
  • Other moving equipment
  • Passenger boarding bridge
  • Driving under aircraft belly or engines (Figure 1)
  • Speeding

Possible Solutions:

  • Maintain identified clearance from engines according to standard operating procedures for each aircraft type.
  • Do not approach an aircraft while engines are running.
  • Use a guide person to ensure adequate clearance in congested areas, where applicable.
  • Identify designated staging areas for loose items such as chocks, cones, wands, hoses, etc.
  • Maintain situational awareness.
  • Test brakes prior to approaching aircraft.
  • Maintain walking speed in gate area.

Parking/Staging: Potential Hazards:

  • Congestion
  • Improperly staged equipment
  • Movement of unattended vehicle

Possible Solutions:

  • Park/stage vehicle in the proper location when vehicle is not in use.
  • Set brakes and turn off engines whenever it is left unattended (when 25’ or more away from vehicle).
  • Motorized equipment should be in park or neutral gear with the parking brake set and the chocks in place

Additional Resources

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

  • 14 CFR 139, Certification and Operations: Land Airports Servicing Certain Air Carriers. This is part of the electronic code of federal regulations. Specific areas of interest for the airline industry may include:
    • 139.101, Certification requirements: General
    • 139.203, Contents of airport certification manual
    • 139.205, Amendment of contents of airport certification manual
    • 139.329, Ground vehicles

Part 139 Certification. Requires the FAA to issue airport operating certificates to airports that serve scheduled and unscheduled air carrier aircraft with more than 30 seats or that the FAA Administrator requires to have a certificate. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace and workers have rightsOSHA can help answer questions or concerns from employers and workers.  OSHA’s On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. For more information, contact your regional or area OSHA office, call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), or visit Through the OSHA and Airline Group Safety Panel Alliance, the Airline Ground Safety Panel developed this Fact Sheet for informational purposes only. It does not necessarily reflect the official views of OSHA or the U.S. Department of Labor. 06/2015.