Fully integrated material handling & storage systems for your business

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Carrying more than 6.7 million customers to around 60 destinations around the world from more than 20 airports throughout the UK, Thomas Cook Airlines UK is one of Britain’s major leisure carriers.

Background & Brief

Operating at this many airports creates its own challenges for aircraft maintenance as hangar facilities may not be available for unplanned maintenance work. To avoid disruption to their customers and costly delays, Thomas Cook Airlines UK’s Group Maintenance Organisation (GMO), which services all four airlines in the Thomas Cook Group, was searching for an innovative way to provide full access to the exterior of their aircraft outside of hangars. This would enable simple tasks such as changing an aircraft wing light or inspecting the tail leading edge to be undertaken while the aircraft is parked on the apron.

Locators also proposed a Manitou MRT2540 360 degree rotary telehandler equipped with a two-man working platform. The platform will lift to a height of 25 metres and importantly is equipped with laser sensors and an automatic cut out to ensure the basket cannot make contact with any part of the aircraft.


The Challenges:


Provide access to all exterior areas of commercial airliners for unscheduled maintenance work.


The access equipment needs to be easily driven long distances on the airport to meet parked aircraft.


Fail-safe systems to ensure the platform can never make contact with an aircraft.


Improve productivity for unplanned maintenance and reduce the ground time and delays caused by these events.


Locators' Proposal:


Use a Manitou MRT2540 mobile 360° rotary telehandler with a lift height of 25 metres.


Fit the machine with a two-man work platform that also enables operators to work on areas below the platform.


Equip the platform with a laser-controlled safety system to ensure the platform cannot make contact with aircraft.


Contract hire the equipment with maintenance cover to spread costs and reduce the risk of unplanned spend.


The Benefits:


24/7/365 days a year access to all exterior areas of an aircraft.


No costly hangar space required for most unplanned maintenance tasks.


Reduction in time taken for unplanned maintenance and reduced delays and ground time.


Excellent return on investment and protection from unbudgeted spend.


Locators are regional Toyota materials handling equipment dealers. They also recommended an electric forklift as they are able to guarantee a minimum 5-year battery life with their Safepower battery maintenance scheme.

For a small weekly cost, the traction batteries are regularly maintained by a specialist, which removes the need for the user to check and top up the batteries. It also eliminates all of the Health & Safety issues related to battery maintenance.

Locators service and maintain all makes and types of forklift and have a team of 18 field service engineers and a comprehensive stock of spare parts for all machines. They also supply and install all types of storage systems. Locators provide a free-of-charge site survey with recommendations for anyone looking to increase or improve the operation of their storage systems in their warehouse.

Manitou MRT2540

Load Capacity

45 tonnes

Maximum Lift Height

24.6 m


19.4 m 

“We do not have our own hangar facilities at Gatwick airport and we initially looked at the feasibility of using a traditional access platform. We quickly discounted them as they are too slow to move around the airport to where an aircraft may be located. Locators suggested we used a rotary telehandler which gave us the operating flexibility we required.

The Manitou telehandler allows us to safely and quickly complete many routine tasks that may have caused an aircraft to be grounded while we waited for a hangar to become available. We are now much more self-sufficient and the truck has already shown it will provide an excellent return on the investment we have made.”

Barry Coombe

Engineer, Thomas Cook Airlines Group Maintenance Organisation