British Airways has introduced a fleet of battery-powered remote-controlled aircraft tugs on the aprons of Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. The devices are being used to move Airbus short-haul aircraft and replace traditional diesel tugs, allowing a single ramp agent to push an aircraft backwards from the gate remotely.
The tug’s electric battery can hold charge for up to three days, and charging points will be installed on each of the 25 stands at T5. The airline claims it is the first in the world to deploy the emissions-free vehicles across multiple stands, and five are now in use around its London hub. It plans to roll out the Mototok tugs across its entire short-haul operation by the end of the year, and is exploring the possibility of introducing the technology to push back long-haul aircraft in the future.
Matt Gorman, Director of Sustainability at Heathrow 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.”
Klaus Goersch, British Airways Chief Operating Officer, added: “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.”
A video of the tug being used at Heathrow can be seen at the following link:
Photo: Mototok remote control tugs are being deployed at London Heathrow Terminal 5. (British Airways)