WARRENTON, OR -- On Feb. 3, 2009, SkyWest Airlines of St. George, UT, took delivery of Lektro's 3,500th Electric Towbarless Aircraft Tractor at its LAX operation. Eric Paulson, President of Lektro Inc., flew to Los Angeles to "hand the keys" to Troy Pearmain, SkyWest Airline's Director of Ground Support Maintenance.
Lektro, based in Warrenton, OR, manufactures towbarless aircraft tractors and developed the world's first towbarless tractor in 1967. Pearmain states that SkyWest is dedicated to doing its part to reduce green house emissions and uses electric powered equipment wherever possible. SkyWest has also found the elimination of towbars to be extremely beneficial in reducing aircraft damage, costs associated with towbars, and the time it takes to train its operators.
"The Lektro Tug has definitely reduced our towing costs while at the same time eliminating emissions associated with combustion engine tractors," says Pearmain.
Paulson notes that SkyWest is one of Lektro's largest customers with nearly 50 units in operation throughout the SkyWest system. SkyWest purchased its first Lektro in 1998. In addition to the SkyWest fleet, SkyWest owns ASA Airlines, which also has a fleet of Lektro Tugs.
The 3,500th unit is Lektro's AP8750C-AL-700, a 75,000-pound capacity stand-up version designed to handle regional aircraft. This Lektro is geared for the CRJ700 down through the Embraer 135/145 and turboprop aircraft like the Dash 8 and ATR. The AP8750C-AL-700 has a 72v DC battery supply that can operate the unit for approximately five hours on a single charge. At night, the Lektro is placed on charge so ready for the next full day's shift. The battery is warranteed for six years.
"It is quite a milestone to have placed 3,500 electric tow tractors into operation throughout the world," says Paulson. "Just think how much impact that many electric vehicles has had on the environment. It is exciting to see SkyWest take such a lead in reducing green house emissions. They have definitely been an excellent example, as well as an excellent customer."