WheelTug plc announced today the execution of a Slot Purchase Agreement with Icelandair. With the new reservations the order book of WheelTug® aircraft drive systems grows to 573 delivery slots reserved by eleven airlines from Europe, America, the Middle East and the Far East.
Icelandair becomes the first carrier to reserve WheelTug Delivery Slots for 737MAX aircraft.
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 percent 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 $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.