Apron buses show enduring value

07 August 2017
The AP-15 apron bus from MCV. Source: MCV

Market leaders describe continued demand despite the alternative of passenger boarding bridges

Despite the increasing adoption of passenger boarding bridges (PBBs), especially at new airports, there is still demand for apron buses to move passengers from gates to remote stands and back again.

“Expansion possibilities for airport terminals are strictly limited,” noted Andreas Funk, head of sales at Germany-based Cobus Industries. “Furthermore, with an apron bus you can transport passengers to both the front and rear doors [of an aircraft] simultaneously, whereas a PBB simply can't offer that. The use of buses to transport passengers to aircraft therefore makes boarding much quicker.”The COBUS 3000 accounts for the overwhelming majority of Cobus Industries’ sales in the airport sector. (Cobus Industries)The COBUS 3000 accounts for the overwhelming majority of Cobus Industries’ sales in the airport sector. (Cobus Industries)

Cobus builds around four to six airport buses every week. Funk described a slight growth in output, and the company has delivered many different types of apron bus to various markets around the world, encompassing more than 300 airports.

As requirements differ by airport and by country, he told Jane’s that the size of apron bus demanded “depends on their operations and on the type of service being provided, which could include, for instance, first class or VIP buses”.

Cobus buses can be deployed across different applications, such as serving remote parking positions or shuttling passengers between terminals, Funk added.

There are essentially four bus sizes in the Cobus range, with the COBUS 3000 accounting for 80% of total sales. This flagship is the most economical in terms of price-performance ratio, said Funk.

“Each airport can have the buses bought from us customised. We offer over 150 options that they can choose from and among the most common ones are usually the air-conditioning system, rear doors, and heating systems,” he added. “The interiors can also be modified to satisfy customer needs. We also deliver many first class, business class, and VIP buses with tailor-made interiors.”

Air conditioning is a popular feature on apron buses even in airports with temperate or cold weather, despite the often very short journeys they undertake.

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