GIBRALTAR--(Marketwire - Mar 4, 2013) - Livingston Compagnia Aerea, an Italian privately-owned airline, and WheelTug plc, announced today the execution of a Slot Purchase Agreement under which the airline, subject to all regulatory approvals, has the right to lease WheelTug® Aircraft Drive Systems for installation on its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft. With this agreement, nearly three hundred WheelTug delivery slots have been reserved by airlines.
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 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: 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 New Livingston SpA airline 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 system in Prague in June 2012. Video from the tests is available at: http://media.wheeltug.com.
About New Livingston Airline
Livingston is the new Italian airline owned by Riccardo Toto. The airline, which has its main base in Milan Malpensa, operates domestic, international and intercontinental flights since March 2012. Livingston's fleet today is composed of 5 Airbus A320-232 (for short/medium range) and 1 Airbus A330-243 (for long range), as well as 4 more Airbus A320s on order. Livingston incorporates the typical characteristics of an efficient low-cost carrier with a corporate jet one, able to offer the highest level of courtesy and reliability. Its business model is extremely innovative and its distinction is in its: "tailor-made" service, its new fleet and its strong partnership with tour operators and travel agencies.
WheelTug is represented in Italy by G&G Aviation, a consulting company serving airlines, airports, training centers and executive operators. WheelTug is a Gibraltar Corporation. A full listing of WheelTug partner companies and airline customers is on the company's website at www.wheeltug.gi .