Prague Airport to Support Development of WheelTug Electric Aircraft Drive System
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC, Jul 01, 2010 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Prague-Ruzyne Airport has become the world’s first airport to support development of a new technology enabling aircraft to use on-board electric motors to taxi between terminal gates and runways. The new WheelTug(R) system is expected to reduce aircraft emissions, fuel consumption, and noise at airports, and to improve safety, airlines’ schedule reliability, and both airline and customer convenience at airports.
Prague-Ruzyne International Airport, named the Best Airport in Central and Eastern Europe will become WheelTug’s Flagship Airport in Europe and will be a world leader in encouraging cleaner air, less noise, and greater fuel efficiency, safety and operating efficiency within airports. The WheelTug system is projected to reduce aircraft taxi-mode fuel consumption and CO2 emissions both by 66%, and to reduce hydrocarbon emissions by 75% per flight cycle.
An agreement between Letiste Praha, a. s., operator of the Prague Airport, and WheelTug plc, developer of the WheelTug system, states that Prague Airport will actively assist WheelTug with development support during testing and certification. “This support includes necessary airport assistance, as well as facilitation of smooth co-operation between WheelTug and other organizations at the airport including airport handling services and air navigation service provider,” stated Jiri Pos, Member of the Board and Executive Director of Aviation, Operations and Property Management at Prague Airport and he added: “The team of Prague Airport Consulting will also be working with WheelTug to adapt existing operating procedures, checklists, and operating regulations to achieve maximum benefit from WheelTug systems at Prague and at other airports.”
“Prague Airport is a wonderful addition to the WheelTug team,” said Isaiah Cox, WheelTug’s CEO. “As we move development from initial tests through to certification and product launch, we need to work closely with an airport to ensure that the WheelTug system is compatible with, and optimized for, airport operations. We are gratified to be working with such a forward-thinking and environmentally responsible airport as Prague.”
WheelTug is a unique concept in aircraft ground operations. This patented electric drive system incorporates high performance electric motors installed in the nosewheels of aircraft, providing full mobility on the ground without the use of the aircraft engines or tugs for gate pushback and taxi operations. WheelTug enables aircraft to be driven without using their engines from the terminal gate to the runway, and from runway exit to the gate, upon landing. The resulting improvements in efficiency, flexibility, fuel savings, reduced engine damage and CO2 emissions yield projected savings of more than $500,000 per aircraft per year.
WheelTug will provide several operational benefits for airports, airlines and passengers. Because aircraft jet engines won’t operate during taxiing, aircraft noise will be significantly reduced. Aircraft can move more rapidly and safely between terminal gates and runways. This will reduce flight turnaround times and speed airport operations. In terms of operational safety, WheelTug removes the danger of aircraft engines ingesting debris and eliminates Jet blast, that will bring more safe working environment for airport ground personnel. Airports will be allowed to reduce safety distances behind engines and use taxiways efficiently.
The first systems are being developed for the Boeing 737NG aircraft family, and are expected to receive government certification by early 2012; systems for other aircraft models will follow.
About WheelTug plc: WheelTug plc, based in Gibraltar, is developing the WheelTug electric drive system to move aircraft on the ground. http://www.wheeltug.gi WheelTug is a majority-owned subsidiary of Chorus Motors plc (PINKSHEETS: CHOMF). Forward Looking Statement may be found at http://www.chorusmotors.gi/fwdlook.shtml. WheelTug can be found at the Farnborough International Air Show, Hall 2, C-3.
About Prague Airport: In 2009, the airport handled 11.64 million passengers. Prague Airport received the Award for Best Airport in Eastern Europe in the World Airport Awards. During the 2009/2010 summer season, passengers will have access to 50 airlines connecting Prague directly with 131 destinations around the globe.
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