WheelTug: Bringing Sustainability to Ground Operations

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WheelTug plc is in the final stages of certification of its electric taxi system that replaces the existing nose wheels of an aircraft. The system enables aircraft to safely taxi forward and backwards on its own, without needing a tractor or using jet engine power. This saves fuel, reduces emissions as well as engine wear, and eliminates current pushback risk and costs.

Most important, WheelTug reduces the time aircraft spend on the ground, which improves aircraft utilization rates and passenger comfort.

The company expects most airlines will complement the taxi system with an optional camera system - WheelTug Vision - that provides the pilot with 360° situational awareness of aircraft both on the ground and in the air. The two systems can be quickly retrofitted to existing aircraft and are fully removable.

Because the WheelTug system is powered by the aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and requires no changes to the existing APU configuration, one of its primary benefits is a reduction of CO2 and NOx emissions.

WheelTug removes the emissions generated during gate operations by powering the nose wheel of the aircraft with an electric engine that draws its power from the APU.  As the APU generates far lower emissions compared with jet engines, WheelTug can save on average 1,000 kg of CO2 per aircraft per day. With WheelTug having letters of intent for more than 2,600 aircraft from more than 25 airlines worldwide (and growing), adoption of the system is easily one of the best ways that the aerospace industry can reduce emissions in the near term.

WheelTug is now finalizing its certification tests as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG) and anticipates to receive its Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for this aircraft type in Q1 2025. FAA approval will quickly open up European and other markets through existing bilateral agreements. This will then be followed by certification of further aircraft types, primarily narrow bodies.

Alongside its technological progress, WheelTug is also setting up commercial and business units that will be based in the Isle of Man. WheelTug requires a dependable business center, one with a stable economy, predictable policies, and a friendly commercial atmosphere featuring a strong aerospace presence.

The Isle of Man ticks all these boxes, as well as being easily accessible not only from Europe but also from the US. WheelTug is convinced that it will be the perfect fit and believes that the benefits will be mutual. The company intends to bring substantial business to the Isle of Man, with a locally sourced workforce focusing primarily on the business aspects of WheelTug, and potential expansion to MRO services. The Isle of Man will also benefit from the sustainability and emission reduction benefits WheelTug provides, as this technology will significantly contribute to helping the Isle of Man achieve net zero emission targets.

For more information on WheelTug and footage from our public demonstration of WheelTug maneuvers at Memphis International Airport, please visit www.wheeltug.com. For any inquiries please reach out to exec@wheeltug.com.


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