Introduce Aircraft Nose Wheel Taxi On The Airbus A320
By Mike Mitchell
April 26, 2012 - Alitalia and WheelTug announced the
signing of a partnership to introduce an innovative
electric drive system for taxiing the Airbus A320 family
of aircraft. Alitalia is the main Italian airline with
25 million transported passengers (in 2011), with an
operating fleet of 146 aircraft and a network of 95
destinations in Italy and in the world.
The patented WheelTug electric drive system consists of
an electric motor called "Chorus" installed in the
aircraft nose wheels and powered by the APU (Auxiliary
Power Unit), the auxiliary engine installed in the tail
of aircraft which provides energy to the on-board
systems when the main engines are off.
The equipment allows aircraft to taxi both forwards without the use of main engines and backwards without the use of a tow tug. The Chorus electric motor allows the movement of the aircraft from the departure gate to the runway, and upon landing, from runway exit to the stand for passenger disembarkation.
This new technology, which is unprecedented in
commercial aviation, allows up to an 80% reduction in
the fuel consumption for aircraft ground movements, with
a significant reduction in cost, noise, and
The use of
the Chorus electric motor also makes the aircraft independent
from the tractor for push back, helping to increase operational
flexibility and improve on-time operations. With the agreement
announced today with WheelTug, Alitalia becomes the launch
customer for this innovative technology, having reserved 100
WheelTug systems for its A320 aircraft.
The Airbus A350 is a family of long-range,
wide-body jet airliners under development by European aircraft
manufacturer Airbus. The A350 will be the first Airbus with both
fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon fibre-reinforced
polymer. It will carry 270 to 350 passengers in three-class
seating, depending on variant.
this partnership, Alitalia continues its commitment to
technological innovation, economical and environmental
sustainability and improving quality standards.
For WheelTug this agreement represents a key opportunity to spread this innovative technology to the best-selling aircraft family in the world. WheelTug is represented in Italy by G&G Aviation, a consulting company serving airlines, airports, training centers and executive operators. WheelTug is a Gibraltar Corporation.
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