British Airways introduces remote-control electric tugs to move planes around Heathrow
British Airways has become the first airline to use remote-controlled tug devices to push back aircraft across its short-haul operation.
The electric-powered Mototoks reduce emissions by replacing traditional diesel tugs and should help to improve the punctuality of its planes, the carrier said.
Five of the high-tech vehicles are being used across 25 stands at Heathrow Terminal 5 and have already moved a large number of planes carrying around 100,000 customers in total.
The Mototok’s electric battery can hold its charge for up to three days and charging points will be installed on each of the 25 stands at Heathrow’s T5.
“British Airways is the most punctual major short-haul airline in London. The introduction of the Mototok will help us to stay at the top of the league and keep our flights departing on time,” said the carrier’s chief operating officer, Klaus Goersch.
“This major step to modernise our operation is a first in the airline industry and part of wider investment in new technology that will enhance the experience our customers have.”
BA plans to roll out the Mototoks across its short-haul operation by the end of the year and is exploring the possibility of using them for its larger long-haul aircraft.
Matt Gorman, the west London hub’s director of sustainability, said: “Mototoks are an essential part of our sustainability strategy, Heathrow 2.0, and its goals to reduce emissions from our airside activities.
“Together with innovative partners like British Airways we are bringing new electric and hybrid vehicles and charging points to the airport to make a tangible, positive difference in our local environment.”
Limiting CO2 emissions is a key pledge of Heathrow in its project to build a third runway.
In October last year, the UK government finally approved the long disputed expansion in line with the recommendations of the UK’s Airports Commission.