Kenya Airways and Aircraft e-taxi innovator WheelTug Plc have signed a deal that will see the Kenya airline carrier’s planes taxi forward & backward using small electric motors in their nosewheels rather than jet engines or a tow tug. The agreement is for the airlines’s fleet of Boeing 737NG aircraft.
This is a move to reduce operating costs and increase fleet utilization as the airline carrier continues to press harder on reducing its operating losses as seen from its 2017 financial results.
Through this agreement, the carrier will be able to achieve reduced fuel consumption & airport emissions as well as save at-least 20 minutes in ground time between flights. Also, the aircraft e-taxi innovator will enable Kenya Airways planes to parallel park at terminal gates;using two doors for narrowbody boarding and deplaning hence allowing for a more expedited travel.
WheelTug System electric motor called chorus installed in the nose gear wheels of an aircraft and powered by the Auxiliary Power Unit, is of high performance, provide full mobility and facilitate ground autonomy. With WheelTug, Pilots wont be requiring to use tugs or jet engines as the new innovative solution will enable conducting of pushtag and taxi operations. When the main engines are off, the chorus provides energy to the on-board systems and allows aircraft movement from the departure gate to the runway and, upon landing, from runway exit to the stand.
“WheelTug’s innovative solution will be an excellent complement to our growing fleet and ultra-modern hub in Nairobi. It is the next stage in aviation innovation and vital for our operations'” said Kenya Airways CEO Sebastian Mikosz.
WheelTug systems are now reserved for over 1,050 aircraft on more than 20 airlines available and this is the second airline contract WheelTug has signed in 2018. “We are pleased to welcome Kenya Airways to the WheelTug program, and look forward to simplifying their ground operations and bringing their passengers a more enjoyable journey,” said WheelTug CEO Isaiah Cox.