WheelTug plc, the aviation electric taxi innovator, and Ethiopian Airlines, the largest carrier in Africa, have agreed to allocate 30 WheelTug systems to Ethiopian's Boeing 737 fleet.
This agreement raises the number of assigned WheelTug slots to almost 1,300 aircraft across more than two dozen airlines worldwide. Ethiopian follows eight airline signings for WheelTug in 2018.
The WheelTug system consists of high-performance electric motors powered by the aircraft's auxiliary power unit, installed in the nose gear wheels of the aircraft. Pilots gain full maneuverability and greater autonomy on the ground; they can carry out pushback and taxi operations without relying on tow tractors or the aircraft's jet engines.
Ethiopian will be able to reduce its costs and improve its system-wide performance through fleet utilization gains and more dependable departures. Moreover, the carrier will spend less on maintenance expenses and its aircraft will retain greater value. Using WheelTug for breakaway power, aircraft engines are less likely to create the FOD (foreign object debris) vortices that over time decrease engine performance.
WheelTug CEO Isaiah Cox said, "Ethiopian is a superb addition to WheelTug, and we look forward to seeing Ethiopian expand its markets with a little help from our company."
Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam agreed. "We are happy to partner with the world’s well-known aviation electric taxi innovator, WheelTug. Ethiopian Airlines has always been at the forefront of technology in Africa. As the largest airline in the continent with more convenient connections, Ethiopian Airline now brings more people to Africa than any other carrier, and WheelTug will help its efforts to deliver the best possible travel experience to its esteemed customers."