HNA AVIATION RESERVES 200 WHEELTUG DELIVERY POSITIONS
First aviation group in China to acquire delivery slots for innovative aircraft e-taxi system
Gibraltar, 10 July 2014 -- HNA Aviation Group has executed a Slot Option Purchase Agreement
for 200 WheelTug® aircraft electric drive systems, WheelTug plc announced today. The
agreement is WheelTug's first with an aviation group based in China. It brings total WheelTug
system reservations to 985 aircraft across more than 15 airlines. This represents a market
penetration of 10% of all 737NG and A320 currently flying worldwide.
The WheelTug system uses high-performance electric motors, installed in the nose gear wheels
of an aircraft, to provide full mobility while on the ground, without the use of the aircraft's jet
engines or tugs for both pushback and taxi operations.
The WheelTug system is being developed initially for the Boeing 737NG and Airbus A320, the
world's most widely operated aircraft. The agreement with HNA Aviation allows its member
airline companies such as Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, Lucky Air, West Air, etc., to shift its
reservations between the two aircraft models until six months before system delivery. This
allows HNA Aviation exceptional flexibility for its future fleet and route planning.
"We are delighted that HNA Aviation will be the launch customer for WheelTug in China," said
Isaiah Cox, President and CEO of WheelTug. "Operating on its philosophy of integrity,
performance and innovation, HNA Aviation has rapidly become one of the largest Asian-based
aviation groups. As a leader in adopting WheelTug, HNA Aviation will further advance its
record of aviation innovation."
WheelTug enables aircraft to be electrically driven from the terminal gate to the takeoff runway,
and upon landing from runway exit to the gate. This allows improvements in efficiency,
flexibility, fuel savings, reduced engine wear, reduce foreign object damage (FOD), as well as
substantial reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. The WheelTug system can be
seen in action at http://media.wheeltug.com
The greatest benefit of WheelTug-enabled ground operations is the time that can be saved
parking and unloading the aircraft and cooling its brakes before the next flight. Because the
system is in the nose gear, there is no interference with cooling of the brakes on the main landing
gear, allowing aircraft to reduce turnaround time by as much as 15 to 20 minutes per flight. This
can lead to a dramatic increase in fleet utilization, as well as passenger satisfaction.
WheelTug estimates the total savings from use of its system at well over US$1 million per
aircraft per year. WheelTug's systems are being offered to the airlines entirely on a lease, or
power-by-the-hour basis, permitting installation on aircraft and operation without any airline
About HNA Aviation
HNA Aviation, a core and cornerstone entity under HNA group, manages transportation
enterprises of aviation and enterprises related to aviation under the group. It seeks global
expansion and presence in the entire industrial chain by establishing supporting industries of
aviation maintenance technology (MRO), general aviation (aviation academy), business trip
service (sale), ground support and aviation logistics, and by introducing financial investment and
emerging businesses, with an aim to become a leading large international aviation group in terms
of the quality of service and size of the enterprise.
HNA Aviation now operates more than 308 airplanes on over 570 domestic and international
airlines that connect more than 190 cities.
About WheelTug plc
WheelTug plc is developing the WheelTug aircraft electric drive system, and is based in
Gibraltar. A full listing of WheelTug partner companies and airline
customers is on the company's website at http://www.wheeltug.gi
Forward-looking statement at http://www.wheeltug.gi/fls.shtml
For more information:
+420 724 276 506
+1 410 419 0082