Massport Approves Financing of Electric Tugs for Delta

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Port Authority Board today approved a $3 million loan to Delta Air Lines for the purchase of battery-powered baggage cart tugs and battery-powered baggage conveyor belt vehicles which will reduce emissions and improve the air quality around Boston Logan International Airport.

“This conversion of ramp side equipment from diesel fuel to electric continues Logan’s commitment to the environment,’’ said Edward Freni, Massport’s director of aviation. “From compressed natural gas buses to plug in power and conditioned air units at each jet bridge, we strive to reduce emissions that are generated by airport activity. This new initiative strengthens our environmental efforts.’’

“Delta is committed to identifying and implementing environmentally sustainable practices throughout its operation where feasible and appreciates Massport’s support towards the acquisition of this cutting-edge equipment aimed at reducing our carbon footprint in Boston,’’ said Tim McGraw, Delta’s director of environmental affairs.

As part of the replacement of Terminal A, Delta agreed to introduce battery powered tugs and belt loaders for their ground service fleet at Terminal A, which opened in 2005. Delta will purchase 50 electric baggage cart tugs, 25 electric baggage conveyor belt vehicles, and charging stations for each vehicle. Terminal A is the world’s first LEED certified airline terminal. The conversion of the fleet is due to occur by the end of 2009.

Given the financial state of the industry and lack of access to capital markets, Massport agreed to partner with Delta to support this important environmental commitment. Delta will be the first airline at Logan to have a fleet of alternative-fueled ground service equipment. Massport welcomes similar green financing opportunities for other tenant airlines as part of its overall efforts to reduce airport emissions should environmental enhancements and financial elements permit.

Boston Logan serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to more than 71 domestic and 32 international destinations and in 2008 handled 26.1 million passengers. Boston Logan is the Air Line Pilot Association’s Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport has spent $4.4 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has transformed the airport into a world-class 21st Century facility.