Elec­tric tugs for air­ports: Are we ready for it?

The ver­sa­tile trac­tor is in­grained in our minds since our child­hood.We have ex­tended its ap­pli­ca­tion successfully into the air­ports, says R Pra­ha­lad, VP - Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment (Aero­space & De­fence), Maini Group.

Cargo Talk - - Aviation -

What was the in­sight be­hind launch­ing elec­tric tug for air­port ap­pli­ca­tions?

The time has come to re­place the trac­tors with the elec­tric tugs, in the air­ports. With the mod­erni­sa­tion of air­ports where the bag­gage make up area is at the base­ment, it has be­come es­sen­tial to have elec­tric tugs to avoid pol­lu­tion. This has be­come OHSAS com­pli­ance re­quire­ment. The air­port op­er­a­tor’s re­spon­si­bil­ity

The air­port op­er­a­tor has a ma­jor role to play in pro­vid­ing the in­fra­struc­ture re­quired for de­ploy­ing the elec­tric tugs. For green field and brown field air­ports these can be en­sured at the de­sign stage. But for the ever in­creas­ing air­port traf­fic within the ex­ist­ing in­fra this is a big chal­lenge. This will be in terms of the power avail­abil­ity, ad­e­quate charg­ing sta­tions and park­ing space, ven­ti­la­tion etc. MAINI’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in elec­tric plat­form

We have been the fore­run­ner in de­sign and man­u­fac­ture of in­no­va­tive elec­tric plat­forms, be it the India’s first Reva elec­tric car or the elec­tric pas­sen­ger bug­gies & elec­tric Ma­te­rial Han­dling Equip­ment (MHE).

The present mar­ket of­fer­ing is of higher ton­nage (than re­quired) for the bag­gage tow ap­pli­ca­tions. The air­ports re­strict not more than four trol­leys to be towed at a given time. This is not more than six tonnes.

For the cargo ap­pli­ca­tions, the com­pany has launched the 25 tonnes tug. The ever­green two ton tug of Maini brand sup­ports the air­line en­gi­neer­ing for trans­porta­tion of its spares to the air­craft on tar­mac for main­te­nance. Choos­ing and main­tain­ing your tug

Choos­ing the right tug is very im­por­tant. The con­ces­sion­aire needs to get into the depth of op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments, air­port in­fra­struc­ture, ter­rain, com­pli­ance re­quire­ments, fu­ture plans, etc to choose the right tug. The bat­tery is the heart of the tug. Metic­u­lous daily and sched­uled pre­ven­tive main­te­nance will pro­vide a long life of the bat­tery. Eco­nomics

The ac­qui­si­tion cost of an elec­tric tug is high. How­ever, to­day, we have moved into life cy­cle cost­ing rather than ac­qui­si­tion costs. Re­li­a­bil­ity of the ma­chine, cost of spares, cost of main­te­nance and down time are few of the pa­ram­e­ters con­sid­ered.

The elec­tric tug is way far eco­nom­i­cal in com­par­i­son to the diesel tugs/trac­tors when these pa­ram­e­ters are con­sid­ered. With many state gov­ern­ments ex­tend­ing con­ces­sions on VAT and on im­ple­men­ta­tion of GST, the ac­qui­si­tion of elec­tric tugs should be­come rel­a­tively af­ford­able in the near fu­ture.

With many state gov­ern­ments ex­tend­ing con­ces­sions on VAT and on im­ple­men­ta­tion of GST, the ac­qui­si­tion of elec­tric tugs should be af­ford­able in fu­ture

R Pra­ha­lad VP - Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment (Aero­space & De­fence), Maini Group

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