Apparently workers at Heathrow Airport outside of London do plane assistance work in the lap of luxury.

Car: L663 Land Rover Defender 110
Location: Heathrow Airport, UK
Photog: Chris Whaley (Instagram + Twitter:
Camera: iPhone 12

This is easily one of the coolest airport ground staff vehicles ever. In the U.S., it seems like a sturdy old Chevy or Ford pickup is the most commonly driven vehicle by staff at our numerous airports. Whether they’re emergency crew, police, or any other role that involves sharing a tarmac with massive planes, it’s typically some rickety old work vehicle.

But in this photo shared by reader Chris Whaley, it seems the Heathrow staff gets to roll around in new Land Rover Defender 110s. I know these sturdy unibody trucks are much more common over there, and I wonder if the staff acknowledges them as an upgrade over whatever they previously had. Maybe a well-worn, diesel-powered mid-’00s Range Rover? Or a Discovery 4? Maybe, possibly, a Discovery 1 that was leaking enough oil to be considered more of an environmental hazard than the jet exhaust it spent its time around. Though, it could’ve also been any European-branded utility vehicle, like a Volvo wagon, excuse me, estate.

Even though ground staff vehicles aren’t really driven around in anger very often (well, who knows if employees host impromptu amateur races when flights cease in the wee hours of the morning), I imagine that they take a lot of abuse. They might idle for long periods of time, or possibly aren’t given enough time to warm up before needing to spring into action. And in climates that experience snow, I imagine the upholstery is put to the test by the continual threat of salty, slushy boots and many winter cold-starts. Chain-smoking, coffee-spilling workers who have to be on-it and very awake for lengthy periods of time might also put ground staff vehicles’ interiors to the test.

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