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10/16/2013 | Deutsche Lufthansa: On the way to green handling

For many years the Lufthansa Group has been concerning itself with the question of how to reduce fuel consumption and the emissions associated with it in flight operations. In this connection, attention is also focused on ground-based means of transport for taxiing and towing of aircraft.

Now representatives of Lufthansa Technik subsidiary Lufthansa LEOS and the Swedish Kalmar Motor AB have signed a contract for the development of an electrically-powered, towbarless tractor on a hybrid basis. In future, Lufthansa LEOS wants to use it for repositioning and maintenance towing of heavy long-haul aircraft over distances of up to seven kilometres. The electric tractor, unique in its performance category worldwide, can move aircraft with a maximum take-off weight up to 600 tons. The first prototype of the vehicle is planned to be delivered to Lufthansa LEOS at the end of 2014.

In the medium term, the electric tractor should replace the diesel-powered towbar tractors currently in use. Thanks to its new electric drive it will be more environmentally-friendly and at the same time more economical than its diesel-powered predecessor. The all-wheel drive electric vehicle is powered by lithium ion batteries and charged externally from the power grid. In an emergency, the batteries can also be charged during operations with the help of a fully-integrated diesel engine.

The electric tractor is part of the "E-Port on" project, in the course of which the TaxiBot hybrid tractor is already being tested by Lufthansa LEOS. The numerous activities which lead to more electric mobility and resource-saving clearance procedures at Frankfurt Airport, accelerate the concept of the "green handling". Partners of the initiative are Lufthansa Group, Fraport AG, the State of Hesse, as well as Rhine-Main Electromobility Model Region. The project is promoted by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development.


Forum for Sustainable Development of German Business e.V.

econsense is an association of leading, globally active companies and organisations of German business specializing in the area of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR). Founded in 2000 on the initiative of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the goal of econsense is to provide a dialogue platform and think tank, with the dual objectives of advancing sustainable development in business and assuming social responsibility.