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SpiceJet Airlines announces partnership with WheelTug

SpiceJet has partnered with WheelTug Plc for reserving 400 production slots for the electric taxi system.

This partnership will help the low-cost carrier save fuel, reduce CO2 emissions as well as noise levels, and improve its fleet utilisation.

What is the WheelTug system?

A key step during an aircraft’s taxi is the pushback. The process of pushing back from the gate and beginning the taxi is usually conducted with the help of external tugs, which are connected to the nose wheels using a tow bar. These vehicles then push the plane into position for their taxi and takeoff. While the aircraft can push back on its own using the reverse thrusts, is comes with its own concerns and risks. WheelTug wants to change this.

The WheelTug system places high-torque motors in the nose wheels of the aircraft. Pilots control the aircraft themselves, performing ground operations without requiring tugs for manoeuvres. By keeping jet engines off in tight areas, the airline will lower its emissions.

In addition to this, Spicejet gate and stand operations will be faster and helpful in eliminating unexpected long delays affecting the schedule on any given day.

However, SpiceJet might have to wait before receiving its first system once it is approved. WheelTug already has 2,200 orders from 25 airlines for the product, including IndiGo, which has the largest single order on the books.

Orders for WheelTug are for now limited to small single aisle aircrafts such as Airbus 320 and Boeing 737. However, this could expand in the future and once WheelTug’s system comes into service in early 2022 (if all goes as planned).

Who is WheelTug?

WheelTug Plc, located in the Isle of Man, is developing the WheelTug aircraft electric drive system.

Featured image by Boeing

What do you think of WheelTug? Let me know in the comments section below.

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