GIBRALTAR--(Marketwired - Jun 4, 2013) - WheelTug plc announced today the execution of a Slot Purchase Agreement with Air Berlin. With 110 new reservations the order books of WheelTug® aircraft drive systems grow to 549 delivery slots reserved by ten airlines from Europe, America, the Middle East and the Far East.
airberlin is one of Europe's leading airlines. Offering 150 destinations in 40 countries and award-winning service, airberlin is the first choice for more than 33 million travellers.
The WheelTug electric drive system uses high-performance electric motors, installed in the nose gear wheels of an aircraft, to provide full mobility while on the ground, without the use of the aircraft's jet engines or tugs for both pushback and taxi operations.
Current commercial aviation practice utilizes a tug for aircraft gate pushback, while forward taxi is powered by the aircraft's engines. Typically, a taxiing Airbus A320 or Boeing 737NG aircraft burns 24 to 27 pounds of fuel per minute. The electric WheelTug unit needs only four pounds of fuel per minute by using the aircraft's auxiliary power unit (APU), representing an 80% reduction in ground operation fuel consumption.
In addition to lower ground operation fuel consumption, other intended benefits of the WheelTug® aircraft drive systems include: removal of the time and safety costs of the use of ground tugs, substantially reduced carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, increased safety and flexibility of operations, faster turnaround times, reduced engine wear and repair costs, and decreased noise pollution. WheelTug estimates the total savings at over US$700,000 per aircraft per year. WheelTug Systems will be offered to the airlines entirely on a lease, or power-by-the-hour basis, so that the systems can be installed and operated on aircraft without any capital expenditure on the part of the airline whatsoever.
WheelTug plc successfully installed and tested the first in-wheel WheelTug in Prague in June 2012. Video from the tests is available at: http://media.wheeltug.com.
About WheelTug plc
WheelTug plc is a Gibraltar Corporation. A full listing of WheelTug partner companies and airline customers is on the company's website at http://www.wheeltug.gi.
airberlin is one of Europe's leading airlines and flies to 150 destinations in 40 countries. The second largest airline in Germany carried more than 33 million passengers in 2012. airberlin offers a global route network through its strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, which is a 29.21 per cent stakeholder, and membership in the oneworld® airline alliance. The airline with the award-winning service operates codeshare flights worldwide with 14 airlines. The fleet has an average age of five years and is among the most modern and eco-efficient in Europe.