Innovative technology from energy management specialist Hoppecke Industrial Batteries is helping British Airways to prepare aircraft for departure more efficiently and more environmentally-friendly than has previously been possible.
Leading the way in reducing the carbon footprint in the aerospace sector, British Airways – working in partnership with Heathrow Airport – has become the first airline in the world to introduce advanced remote-controlled equipment that eliminates the need for diesel tugs. Called Mototoks or ‘e-tractors’, the battery-powered tugs are used to move Airbus short-haul aircraft at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, with just one unit needed to push an aircraft backwards from its departure gate. Since being introduced in August, the tugs have moved over 100,000 passengers along the tarmac at Heathrow.
British Airways is the first commercial operator to use Mototoks across several aircraft stands and, while five units are currently in operation, there are plans to introduce 25 more by the end of the year, as well as Hoppecke charging stations installed at every gate.
Hoppecke – the leader in industrial battery systems and the largest battery manufacturer in European ownership – has provided the entire energy package for the tugs, consisting of 80V trak | eco batteries and high-frequency trak | power premium chargers. The Mototoks’ batteries can hold their charge for up to three days and, as part of a full maintenance contract, Hoppecke is responsible for all the servicing on the trucks.
To date, Mototoks are being used to move BA’s Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 short- and medium-haul aircraft but in the future even stronger Hoppecke batteries will be supplied for use with larger long-range aircraft.
Heathrow Airport has said that the Mototoks are a key part of its Heathrow 2.0 sustainability strategy to cut emissions from airside activities, with pollutants reduced through the elimination of diesel tractors. Because flying is not environmentally friendly, it is vital that airlines find other ways of saving resources, energy and money at airports.
Klaus Goersch, British Airways’ Chief Operating Officer, has said: “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. 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.”
Jason Howlett, Hoppecke’s Regional Managing Director – Northern Europe, adds: “British Airways and Heathrow Airport are committed to reducing carbon emissions and giving their customers the best possible experience and we are delighted to be a part of those efforts. Hoppecke’s ground-breaking technology is helping to change forever how aircraft are handled at world-beating airports and the Heathrow development is just the beginning.”