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New hybrid cars at Kraków Airport

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Kraków Airport supports modern and eco-friendly solutions. This is why six hybrid cars were purchased for aircraft marshallers in August. Thanks to their electric motors, these cars are much more economical, they produce less emissions and are quieter than the ones we previously used at the airport.

photo: Łukasz Stawiarz EPKK Spotters
photo: Łukasz Stawiarz EPKK Spotters

The new cars were purchased as part of the Kraków Airport social responsibility strategy for 2016-2018, whose goals in the area of environmental protection include the use of energy-efficient solutions within new investments.

The cars used by marshallers run between 18 and 20 hours a day, often on idle engines. According to the regulations, the engines need to be engaged at all times. The choice of the right car model was guided by fuel consumption and noise emission. It was also important for the new cars to not include the components, found in traditional vehicles, that are prone to frequent failures due to the specificity of their mode of operation (i.e. alternators, starters and V-belts).

Thanks to the new cars, our marshallers will also work in more comfortable conditions. Statistically, on a 12-hour shift, they spend 80 to 90 per cent of the time in cars.



A hybrid can move noiselessly only on the electric motor and does not emit harmful molecules to the air. Toyota Yaris' hybrid engine delivers 100 hp, and its fuel consumption is 3.1 litres per 100 km. The cars were purchased from Toyota Romanowski Kraków after a tender procedure called: Purchase of 6 class B hybrid passenger cars. The value of the order was net PLN 318,720.

Follow-Me is a car that stands out from typical vehicles seen on public roads. Its special features include:
•    colour – bright yellow with a black chequerboard pattern, which makes the vehicle visible to aircraft staff in various atmospheric conditions;
•    radio station – provides communication with other airport services. Interestingly, a marshaller does not stay in direct contact with an aircraft pilot;
•    airband scanner – allows the marshaller to listen to communications between aircraft staff and air traffic controllers of the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency;
•    strobe lights – commonly referred to as strobes, serve as a means of communication with the aircrew. In the new cars these can be modified depending on the needs. The controllers choose from the following signals: FOLLOW ME, SLOW DOWN, RIGHT and LEFT;
•    tablet with airport traffic monitoring software, which contains the most crucial data for a marshaller, such as the number of the parking stand assigned to a particular aircraft, plane type, as well as updated arrival and departure times, delays etc.

Marshaller's job
An aircraft marshaller is a member of the airport personnel who takes over the responsibility for the plane and its passengers directly from the tower upon the plane's landing. The so-called ‘responsibility transfer points’ are marked by dashed lines on taxiways. Next, the pilot follows a marshaller's car (the so-called follow-me car) to the proper parking stand on the apron. There, the marshaller navigates the aircraft with the use of hand-held beacons according to an international system of signs. This allows efficient and safe manoeuvring of the vehicles belonging to the companies that handle passengers and their luggage, refuel planes, provide catering and, in winter, are responsible for defrosting. An aircraft marshaller indicates safe taxiing conditions to pilots, ensures that the aircraft does not hit any obstacles during taxiing and monitors the availability of parking stands. Pilots often do not see the tips of their aircraft's wings during taxiing, so one can say that a marshaller acts as ‘the pilot's eyes’ on an apron.