Submitted by LEKTRO, Inc.
LEKTRO, Inc. reached a milestone recently when Southwest Airlines took delivery of its 5,300th towbarless tug ever built. Southwest placed LEKTRO #5300 into service at its San Jose, CA (SJC) operation. To date, LEKTRO has produced more towbarless aircraft tractors than any other manufacturer in the world.
The tug, a Model AP8950SDB-AL-200, is the company’s second largest pushback model, and capable of handling aircraft up to 210,000 pounds such as the Boeing 737s Southwest Airlines flies. The model was introduced in 2014 at the request of airlines for a LEKTRO tug certified to handle the B737 and A320 families of aircraft.
Southwest Airlines honored LEKTRO as their 2016 Equipment Provider of the Year and has continued to purchase LEKTRO’s all-electric, towbarless tugs to ensure reliable, safe and emissions free aircraft pushbacks.
“Since starting this project with LEKTRO in 2014, Southwest has purchased 56 pushbacks and has converted 5 cities completely over to the LEKTRO product” said Larry Laney, Southwest Airlines Director of Ground Support. “LEKTRO and their Team have done an outstanding job making deliveries on time and after sales support. Based on the their performance to date, we are looking forward to working with LEKTRO in the future.”
The new units replaced Southwest’s conventional fossil-fueled tractor fleet at SJC. Their use will ensure safe and reliable pushback operations while lowering the overall carbon emissions at the airport. Most conventional pushback methods use combustion engine tractors which attach to the aircraft via a towbar. LEKTRO aircraft tugs are towbarless, eliminating the cost to procure and maintain towbars as well as eliminate the risk of injury to personnel associated with their use. LEKTRO tugs are also easier to operate and gentler on the aircraft. Additionally, LEKTRO vehicles are completely electric and only use energy when in motion or operating the hydraulics, making them very quiet and energy efficient.
“We are honored to have Southwest Airlines as one of our major customers and for their confidence in our products to handle their Boeing 737 fleet,” said LEKTRO President Eric Paulson.
Having invented the world’s first towbarless aircraft tug in 1967, LEKTRO has long been an industry leader. Currently their vehicles are in use in 93 countries across the globe. As a testament to their quality of construction and reliability, their second tug ever manufactured is still in operation (the first unit was recently taken out of service so could be displayed in LEKTRO’s Warrenton museum).