UK flag carrier airline British Airways (BA) has begun a multi-million-pound overhaul of its ground equipment at London Heathrow Airport as it moves towards hybrid and electric alternatives. 

The investment will include switching more than 750 pieces of ground equipment to operate on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel as an interim measure before introducing zero-emission or hybrid equipment in the long term. 

BA is also replacing all diesel-powered passenger aircraft steps with electric alternatives, and will gradually replace its fleet of 20 diesel-powered vehicles used to load and unload cargo containers with hybrid-electric versions. 

Tom Moran, BA’s director of Heathrow, said the project showed the airline’s desire to reduce emissions on the ground as well as in the air as part of its ambition to achieve net zero by 2050. 

He said: “This major investment into our vehicles at Heathrow is our largest investment in more sustainable airport ground operations to date and is part of our wider environmental objective to minimise emissions from our airside ground operation.” 

As part of the overhaul, BA, part of International Airlines Group, will also phase out all of its diesel passenger buses over the next two years, replacing them with 15 HVO powered vehicles and 23 fully electric buses, to be powered at the large charging park at Heathrow, now in the early stages of development.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Additionally, the airline will begin operating 135 new electric baggage tugs, 40% of its total tug fleet, with lithium-ion batteries that reduce carbon emissions by 30% compared to traditional lead acid batteries. 

Carrie Harris, BA’s director of sustainability, said: “I am incredibly proud of this project, which has been driven by our Heathrow ground operations teams and encapsulates our BA Better World ethos of raising awareness of our strategy to all of our colleagues.” 

The investments at Heathrow airport, the busiest in Europe, come only months after the airport hosted the world’s first transatlantic commercial flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel by Virgin Atlantic.