Aviation services specialist Menzies Aviation has commenced the trial of Vestergaard Elephant e-BETA, an electric de-icing unit, at Oslo Airport in Norway.

The company claimed that this was the first time for such a trial to be conducted in Europe and the second internationally, in the area of ground handling sustainability.

Initial tests revealed that the Vestergaard Elephant e-BETA would help in the reduction of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, by 87% per truck in a year.

The company stated that its Oslo expert team of more than 40 de-icing specialists have been offering de-icing services since 2016.

In 2018, Menzies established the Go Green project in Oslo to reduce its carbon footprint.

Under this project, the firm invested in reduced-emissions ground handling equipment, and around 90% of its ramp equipment was replaced with new electric units in 2020.

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If the trial is successful, around 97% of Menzies’ Oslo-based ground support equipment will be electrified.

Menzies Aviation Northern Europe vice-president Thomas Hoff Andersson said: “We’re proud to be working with Vestergaard Company to pioneer this sustainable ground handling solution, which builds on the progress achieved through our Go Green project. The successful trial of this electrically driven de-icer promises to bolster not only the sustainability of our de-icing operations at Oslo Airport, but the sustainability of the industry at large.”

Vestergaard Company key account manager René Laebel said: “For us, Menzies has been an obvious choice of partner in testing the new sustainable unit, as both a global company and a good and trusted customer of ours over the years. Menzies Oslo provides extensive de-icing services during the challenging weather season and is committed to building more sustainable ground handling operations, so we have a common interest in the success of the new unit.”

Avinor airport services director Ole Petter Storstad said: “Avinor has a goal that its own operations at Oslo Airport will be fossil-free by 2030. We are therefore pleased that our partners are working in the same direction and have a green focus when they further develop their services.”

Menzies Aviation currently operates 11 Vestergaard rigs as part of its de-icing fleet at the airport.