Ground Support Equipment for Air Cargo Transport and Handling

Many of the products we use every day would not be accessible to us without air cargo transport, including ground support equipment to haul cargo to, from and between aircraft.

In fact, in addition to the 3 billion passengers who fly each year, over 52 million metric tons of freight are transported around the world.

Here’s a closer look at what air cargo transport involves and the best ground support equipment to keep it running efficiently.

Air Cargo Transport of Commercial Goods

Air cargo transport typically consists of handling goods with a high value or commercially critical delivery time such as:

  • Airmail and diplomatic mail
  • Live animals, hatching eggs, human organs, human remains and medical supplies
  • Express parcels
  • Perishables (food, flowers and dry ice shipments)
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Valuables (money, gold bars and diamonds)
  • Technical supplies (high-tech equipment, oil and gas, aerospace and automotive products, and ship spares)
  • Luxury consumer goods (electronics, fashion goods, accessories)

According to a 2016 International Air Transport Association (IATA) report, annual air cargo translates into $6.8 trillion worth of goods and represents more than 35% of global trade in value. As a result, air cargo generates roughly 9% of airline revenues

Ground Support Equipment for the Air Cargo Transport Industry

The air cargo business would not be profitable, sustainable, or even possible without ground support equipment. Some of this equipment, like our Bobtail Tractors and MTT Electric Tow Tractors, is used to transport cargo that has been unloaded from one flight and needs to be loaded onto another flight. Cargo handling can be an in-house function or provided by a separate company contracted by a given airline.

Regardless of the handling agent, speed, efficiency, and accuracy are important to any cargo handling operation. High-quality ground support equipment is essential to running an effective cargo handling operation and minimizing aircraft turnaround time (the time during which the aircraft remains parked at the gate).

Ground Service Equipment Options for Transporting Cargo Between Flights

There is a wide variety of ground support equipment that can be used to transport cargo between flights:

  • Dollies
  • Tugs and Tractors
  • Container Loaders
  • Transporters

The piece of ground support equipment that an airline or handling service company utilizes depends on their specific needs. However, tugs and tractors are essential to practically every air cargo transport operation, especially those that require long-distance cargo hauling.

Our Eagle Bobtail Tractors and MTT Electric Tow Tractors are the leaders in cargo towing and ground support equipment.

Eagle Bobtail Tractors for Hauling Air Cargo

Essential for efficiently hauling cargo over long distances, our Bobtail Tractors are built on Ford super-duty chassis with a shortened and strengthened drive train. The result is a cargo tractor that can tow more weight at higher speeds. Our Bobtail Tractors last more than three time longer than other, similar ground support equipment.    

Bobtail Tractor models include:

  • EB2-5 Bobtail Tractor
    • Ford F-350 chassis
    • 5,000 lbf. DBP (pound-force drawbar pull)
    • Diesel or Gas
    • Ideal for towing 3-4 cargo dollies long distances at up to 25 mph
  • EB2-7 Bobtail Tractor
    • Ford F-350 chassis
    • 7,500 lbf. DBP
    • Gas
    • Ideal for towing 5-6 cargo dollies long distances at up to 25 mph
  • EB2-8 Bobtail Tractor
    • Ford F-550 chassis
    • 8,000 lbf. DBP
    • Diesel
    • Ideal for towing 5-6 cargo dollies long distances at up to 25 mph
  • EB2-10 Bobtail Tractor
    • Ford F-750 chassis
    • 10,000 lbf. DBP
    • Diesel
    • Ideal for towing 5-6 cargo dollies long distances up to 25 mph in all weather conditions

Eagle MTT Electric Tow Tractors for Moving Air Cargo

Designed for medium-duty and utility towing, our MTT Tow Tractors can tow or push anything from cargo up to medium-sized aircraft. They are built to perform the toughest tasks with high efficiency. Best of all, the MTT’s 80V AC electric drive makes this tow tractor environmentally-friendly. Features include:

  • Zero-emission, energy-efficient 80V AC electric drive

  • 5,000 lbf. DBP

  • Tight 130-inch turning radius for narrow environments

  • Up to 15 mph top speed

To learn more about effective ground support equipment and running a successful cargo handling operation, call or contact Eagle Tugs. Our knowledgeable representatives would be happy to speak with you and help you find an aircraft tug solution that meets your needs.


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