Gatwick Airport has commissioned a pair of specially equipped Mercedes-Benz Sprinters for its Airside Operations staff.
The new ‘rover’ vehicles have been assigned to two-man 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. As well as responding rapidly to spills and other incidents, the Airside Operations teams undertake routine inspections at night, when the airport is quieter – having secured the ‘all clear’ from air traffic control they will venture onto the runway and use the high-density lights carried on the Sprinters to check for damage to the surface, and anything that should not be there.
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. The Sprinters’ in-cab features are designed to make the job safer and more comfortable for crews who can spend entire 12-hour shifts in their vehicles.