GIBRALTAR--(Marketwired - Jan 30, 2014) - WheelTug plc announced today the execution of a Slot Option Purchase Agreement with A.T. Inc., Air Transat, for four slot options for 737NG Aircraft. With the new reservations the order book of WheelTug® aircraft drive systems grows to 785 delivery slots reserved by fourteen airlines from Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia. WheelTug is in active discussions with over 300 airlines worldwide, and expects to surpass 1,000 slot reservations this year.
Current commercial aviation practice utilizes a tug for aircraft gate pushback, while forward taxi is powered by the aircraft's engines. The electric WheelTug unit drives the aircraft without using the engines. The WheelTug system can be seen in action at http://media.wheeltug.com.
The biggest benefit of WheelTug ground operations is the time that can be saved parking and unloading the aircraft and cooling its brakes before the next flight. Because the system is in the nose gear, there is no interference with brake heating, allowing aircraft to reduce turnaround time by as much as 15 to 20 minutes per flight. This can lead to a dramatic increase in fleet utilization, as well as passenger satisfaction.
Other significant benefits of the WheelTug aircraft drive systems include lower ground operation fuel consumption, removal of the time and safety costs from the use of ground tugs, substantially reduced carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, increased safety and operational flexibility, reduced engine and brake wear, FOD repair costs, and decreased noise pollution.
WheelTug estimates the total savings at well over US $1 million per aircraft per year. WheelTug systems will be offered to the airlines entirely on a lease, or power-by-the-hour basis, permitting installation on aircraft and operation without any airline capital expenditure 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 Air Transat
Air Transat is Canada's leading holiday travel airline. Every year, it carries some 3 million passengers to nearly 60 destinations in 25 countries aboard its fleet of Airbus wide-body jets. The company employs approximately 2,000 people. Air Transat is a business unit of Transat A.T. Inc., an integrated international tour operator with more than 60 destination countries and that distributes products in over 50 countries. Air Transat was named World's Best Leisure Airline at the Skytrax annual World Airline Awards, held in July 2012.
Transat A.T. Inc. is an integrated international tour operator with more than 60 destination countries and that distributes products in over 50 countries. A holiday travel specialist, Transat operates mainly in Canada and Europe, as well as in the Caribbean, Mexico and the Mediterranean Basin. Montreal-based Transat is also active in air transportation, destination services and distribution. (TSX: TRZ.B) (TSX: TRZ.A)
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.
Forward-looking statement at http://www.wheeltug.gi/fls.shtml.