Posted by- Neelam Mathews
March 9, 2012
Jet Airways and Gibraltar-based WheelTug have signed a Letter of Intent under which Jet Airways, subject to all financial, technical and operational feasibility checks and necessary regulatory approvals, has the right to lease WheelTug Aircraft Drive Systems for installation on its Boeing 737NG 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, says a statement
Current commercial aviation practice utilizes a tug for aircraft gate pushback, while forward taxi is powered by the aircraft’s engines. Typically, a taxiing Boeing 737 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 significantly less noise and freedom from dependence on tug availability.
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$500,000 per aircraft per year. WheelTug Systems will be offered to Jet Airways entirely on a lease, or power-by-the-hour model, so that the systems can be installed and operated on aircraft without any capital expenditure on the part of the airline whatsoever.