The decarbonisation demands on aviation are increasingly clear, with global net zero targets cascading through all industries, however hard to achieve. Thus far, the scrutiny spotlight has fallen primarily on airlines, as the sector’s primary emissions contributors, but the scale of the challenge will necessitate an industry-wide response over the projected net zero timeframes. As abatement efforts evolve, aviation will need to move beyond the direct CO2 output from flights to other areas such as NOx, contrails, and the Landing and Take-off cycle (LTO).

As key facilitators for airlines and airports, ground handling agents need to plan their response to this mission expansion. Here we set out the many opportunities we see for proactive ground handling agents (GHAs) to contribute to overall decarbonisation efforts and thereby future-proof themselves in a climate of ever-climbing environmental aspirations. Clearly, there are other considerations at the airport, such as buildings emissions, that are well documented elsewhere and reasonably universal across sectors - but in this paper, we focus on the challenge, and opportunity, for below-wing ground services.

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