19 NOVEMBER 2012
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KLM is the latest airline to take a serious interest in the WheelTug electric drive system for aircraft ground manoeuvring. A contract has been signed for future installations subject to certification and execution of a definitive agreement. Alitalia, El Al, Jet Airways and Onur Air are amongst other carriers committed to Wheeltug.
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. It enables aircraft to be electrically driven from the terminal gate to the takeoff runway, and upon landing from runway exit to the gate. This results in improvements in efficiency, flexibility, fuel savings and reduced engine foreign object damage (FOD), plus substantial reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. WheelTug say that they now have 258 aircraft delivery slots allocated.
Initially WheelTug is being developed for the Boeing 737NG and Airbus A320, easily the world's most widely flown aircraft.
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