Main News September 14 2012


Latest Sky Club open for business

Delta Air Lines has opened a new Sky Club in Terminal C at New York’s LaGuardia airport: this takes the carrier’s total to 54 in its network.
The latest club is actually Delta’s third at LaGuardia. Around 7,600 square feet in size, it incorporates a wall of glazing which overlooks the runway. Amenities include a full service bar, providing complimentary beverages and snacks throughout the day, as well as Delta’s Luxury Bar program. The décor includes aerial landscapes of the region.
In addition to opening the new club in Terminal C, Delta is shortly due to enlarge and renovate LaGuardia’s Terminal D South Sky Club. This should be completed by next spring, and will comprise over 10,000 square feet of facilities in all.



Bad news at American Airlines

The latest cuts to affect the Chapter 11 protected airline concern some of its maintenance staff.American Airline executives have said that the company must lose 10,400 jobs as well as reduce its labor costs by US$1.06bn a year if it is to emerge from bankruptcy in good shape. Amongst other cost-saving measures, American’s latest proposals include the outsourcing of up to 35% of its aircraft maintenance function, which is currently executed in house. To that end, American has said that it will be closing its Dallas/Fort Worth maintenance base by the end of the year, which will entail laying off over 800 mechanics. It will subsequently consolidate its major aircraft maintenance operations in Tulsa and at Dallas/Fort Worth International. More than 1,700 mechanics and sundry other workers at American’s three aircraft overhaul bases will be laid off in December and February, officials have revealed. Additional reductions of mechanics and related positions at the Tulsa maintenance base have not been ruled out.



Jazz in tune with its staff

Jazz Aviation has announced that its flight dispatchers, who are represented by the Canadian Air Line Dispatchers Association, have ratified a tentative agreement which was reached on August 31, 2012. The agreement will be in place for a six year period. CALDA represents approximately 67 flight dispatchers employed at Jazz.

Jolene Mahody, Chief Operating Officer of Jazz, congratulated the staff on reaching this milestone and expressed the hope that this agreement would strengthen the company’s profile within the aviation marketplace.



Aviation employment figures remain firm

US scheduled passenger airlines employed 1.4% more workers in June 2012 than they did in June 2011, according to a recent study from the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This actually represents the nineteenth consecutive month that full-time equivalent employee (or FTE) levels for scheduled passenger carriers have been higher than the equivalent month of the previous year.

In June, an FTE total of 390,923 for scheduled passenger carriers equated to 5,540 more than the total for June 2011. This year-on-year growth rate, although down from the growth rates achieved during the last half of 2011, reveals that there has been a gradual increase in the sector’s employment in the wake of the declines that occurred back in mid-2008.

Interestingly, virtually all the low cost airline segment reported an increase in their FTEs. Frontier Airlines was the exception, reporting fewer FTEs. Southwest Airlines reported 46,128 FTEs in June 2012, in a joint report following its merger with AirTran Airways. The combined report was 1,729 more FTEs (or 3.9% more) than the 44,399 FTEs the two airlines reported separately in June 2011.

It was a case of mixed results amongst the regional carriers: out of the 15 regionals, six reported reduced employment levels, compared to 2011 figures.


Third lounge for Dallas airport

At Dallas/Fort Worth airport, the airport board’s concessions committee has approved a seven year lease with American Express to operate a VIP lounge. The decision has been met with disappointment by American Airlines, which runs the Admirals Club within the same terminal. In fact, there is also a third lounge available to travelers with time on their hands: this is called The Club, for which there is no membership requirement.

For American Express cardholders (and non-cardholders), access to the lounge is via a daily pass, which ranges in cost from US$40 to US$75.


Main News August 31 2012

Commuters to lose out?

Delta, the largest operator of 50-seat aircraft in the US, will be closing the hangar doors on Comair by October. Moreover, other carriers with subsidiaries, such as Pinnacle and AMR, have filed for Chapter 11 in the recent past. Faced with the cold wind of change blowing through the economic corridors, the big names have had to reassess their regional offshoots – and so cutting out certain regional routes to focus on those that are more lucrative becomes par for the course.

The 50-seater has become synonymous with the type of aircraft serving the smaller community, often one in a remote location. Making those remote routes pay, though, has become less and less easy for the big carriers. Delta, for instance, is clipping its fleet of 350 or so commuter jets by over 200 units over the coming years. And if Delta’s example is followed, would-be flyers are going to be facing longer drives to the nearest airport.

The big carriers are all citing the same reasons for the cut-backs. Budgetary restraints have put the brakes on new investment and the price of fuel continues to test the hedging experts. Allied to this is the reality of ageing aircraft: maintenance costs are on the rise and every extra aircraft in a fleet represents another cash drain on the already straitened coffers. The difficulty involved in making the small aircraft viable will, analysts believe, ultimately lead to drastically reduced numbers of these aircraft circulating in years to come.


Backscatter X-ray machines: transparent technology?

There has been growing concern over the country’s 250 or so X-ray scanners that rely on so-called backscatter technology. These machines utilize a narrowly focused beam of high-intensity radiation for scanning passengers. Whilst this beam moves quickly across the passenger, the potential threat posed by the technology is little understood, in part because it is a secret process. At least one professor has said that he believes the radiation dose to be up to 45 times as high as that disclosed by the TSA.

Currently, the use of these machines is banned in Europe, a fact that has been noted as significant by those who feel the technology requires more study. To that end Congressman Steve Israel has called upon the TSA to conduct a thorough investigation into the use of this particular type of X-ray machine.



Environmental pledge from United

United Airlines is to further strengthen its commitment to sustainability and the environment by joining the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group. This is an industry working group whose objective is to accelerate the development and commercialization of aviation biofuels.

“We are excited to collaborate with other industry leaders in our shared quest to advance sustainable biofuels,” said Jimmy Samartzis, Managing Director of Global Environmental Affairs and Sustainability for United, in a statement. “We will all benefit from our collective work to find solutions to make alternative fuel available at commercial scale and secure a sustainable future for aviation.”

Overall, the group’s members represent around 32% of commercial aviation fuel demand.



Cheaper with CHEP

Air Canada has selected CHEP Aerospace Solutions to supply and manage its fleet of unit load devices.

CHEP Aerospace Solutions will be acquiring Air Canada’s existing fleet of ULDs (which numbers more than 8,000 airline containers and pallets) and will migrate them into its shared ULD fleet over time, taking CHEP’s total ULD pool to in excess of 53,000 items. Outsourcing its ULD management to CHEP will thus enable Air Canada to eliminate the administration element whilst reducing the cost of positioning, maintaining and managing its own ULD fleet.

Air Canada’s decision to outsource this critical operational activity to CHEP Aerospace Solutions comes in the wake of an in-depth, due diligence process on the capabilities and value of outsourcing. Key to Air Canada’s decision was CHEP’s extensive ground service support team and its global maintenance and repair network that covers 50 stations worldwide; as well, the synergies and cost savings available from sharing assets with other CHEP airline customers was deemed a significant factor.

Air Canada’s Vice President, Cargo, Lise-Marie Turpin, said that the decision to partner with CHEP Aerospace Solutions had come after a lengthy and detailed analysis conducted by the Air Canada team. The results of the analysis revealed that CHEP was the best provider to deliver the requisite cost-savings and efficiencies.

In turn, CHEP Aerospace Solutions’ President, Dr Ludwig Bertsch, added that he was proud to have Air Canada as a business partner.



Delta to cut subsidiary by end of year

Delta Air Lines has announced that it will be shutting down Regional Elite Airline Services. This is the subsidiary that performs ground handling and customer service for its regional carrier flights. The subsidiary musters about 4,000 employees around the US and its operations are likely to be taken over by the end of the year by other companies, including another subsidiary, that of Delta Global Services. Delta hopes to be able to provide job opportunities at the same locations for the vast majority of affected workers.



Main News August 17 2012


Getting smart with used cooking oil

AIRMALL USA, concessions developer and operator of the AIRMALL at Cleveland Hopkins airport, has formed a partnership with Bradford Airport Logistics. The venture will see the developer implement an environmentally-friendly solution that is aimed at recycling waste cooking oil from tenants in the airport’s concessions program.

To this end, Bradford has worked with AIRMALL to install a system of customized retrieval carts that collect the spent cooking oil from the fryers of food outlets at the airport. The collected grease is subsequently recycled to make environmentally friendly products, amongst which is the production of B-100 biofuel for vehicular usage.


Outsourcing or insourcing?

The wind of change, it seems, continues to blow down the economic corridors of the airline sector.

The latest carrier to look at changes to the status quo is United Airlines, which has announced that it is to outsource some of its cargo operations. Part of the reason for the change in operations stems from the ongoing merger with Continental: and a spokesperson has admitted that the initiative was in line with cutting cost and forging a more efficient operation.

Houston has been cited as one of the stations that will see the changes although others are also on the cards. The carrier has gone on to say that ramp cargo handling will still be performed in-house, however.

Whilst the number of affected workers has not been disclosed, it is known that United is still working with the union that represents cargo workers in order to relocate those involved or offer end of contract inducements. If all goes according to plan, the strategy should be effected by November this year. This isn’t the first time United has looked at its staff balance sheet, though: in all, since the merger got underway, some 15 stations have been involved in in-sourcing labor. Clearly, then, there is no one single solution here, for United is weighing up the situation on a station-by-station basis.


Big order for Florida manufacturer

JBT AeroTech has been awarded orders in excess of US$10m by a freighter airline, which the GSE specialist declined to name. This contract will see the manufacturer furnish cargo loaders, de-icing vehicles and pushback tractors. In addition to this it has undertaken to refurbish and upgrade the carrier’s existing cargo loaders. This new and refurbished GSE will in turn be used to support the airline in its global operations.

“We are pleased to continue supporting the cargo handling and ground support needs of the air freight industry,” commented John Lee, Vice President for JBT AeroTech Division. “This order represents the ongoing commitment of cargo air carriers to invest both in new products and in the upgrade of their GSE fleets to improve operating efficiency.”

According to JBT, delivery of the equipment is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year.


Emissions policy hits a brick wall

A Senate panel has voted to prevent US airlines from paying fees to Europe for their fleet emissions. The vote effectively means that the Transportation Secretary now has authority to stop carriers participating in the much-debated EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Predictably, the outcome was a disappointment to environmental groups who are keen to see the EU scheme adopted on a global basis. Calling the bill short-sighted, the international counsel at Environmental Defense Fund admitted that the result would set back any worldwide consensus, something that is badly needed to give the scheme full credibility. However, the US is not alone in its bullish stance: Russia, China and India have also long opposed the credits trading scheme, calling it unfair.

Readers will know that the European scheme issues permits to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide; it then charges any airline which generates more than its share. EU officials have assured the airline sector that the cost overall will lead to a slight increase in ticket prices. Nonetheless, US carriers estimate that the initiative will cost them some US$3.1bn by 2020.

The International Civil Aviation Organization has yet to be approached directly on the matter although EU officials have been contacted with the aim of securing some sort of compromise.

The Golden Crown


Tim Rane, JBT AeroTech’s Region Manager, North Europe, ME, Russia & Africa, brings a fable to the table – and talks safety.

He may not have been the first person in history to have a sudden flash of inspiration, but Archimedes is the man who made the word Eureka famous. It all started when King Hiero II grew skeptical about his new laurel leaf-shaped crown. The king wanted to know whether the crown was solid gold, or if some other metal had been added. It was up to Archimedes to figure this out, only there was one catch: he couldn’t destroy the crown.

It seems to me that the same conundrum exists in preventing aircraft damage. Most probably, no operator wakes up in the morning with a plan to hit an aircraft with their GSE; and most certainly, no GSE manufacturer plans to design their product with the intent of hitting an aircraft; and of course no airline buys its aircraft with “Kiss me quick, I’m looking for ramp rash” stickers emblazoned all over its livery.

Looking for solutions

Early last year I was called by David Roberts, Corporate Safety Manager, Aircraft Ground Damage, at British Airways. He asked us to participate, along with other GSE manufacturers and stakeholders, in a five-day working group which had one aim: to stop 3.5 tonne container loaders from hitting its A319-320 fleet at all BA’s stations. The team was assembled at 7am every morning for a full week airside, along with BA operators, maintenance providers, trainers, aircraft damage repairers and GSE manufacturers. We set to work to establish the root cause of failure. We looked at the GSE, its operating procedures, the units in operation, the new technology presently available for aircraft collision avoidance, the interface with the aircraft, the containers, the dollies and the way they repaired the aircraft damage. No stone was left unturned. But still we couldn’t replicate why operators hit the aircraft consistently in the same zone. But then, out of nowhere on day three, we observed an accident about to happen: it was our Eureka moment!

An AKH container was stuck, half in, half out of the rear hold of an A319. It was full of suitcases, and therefore too heavy to manhandle. The way the operator was trying to un-stick it was platform up and down, loader wheels turning left and right, and driving forwards and backwards. He was under time pressure so he was trying to do this simultaneously. The loader lurched forwards, almost putting the bed inside the hold.

Root cause of failure? It was clear that the interface alignment is critical for loading containers without them sticking on the A319, but nobody released how critical. We all profess to be excellent drivers, but if you were asked to park your car 40 times per day, five days per week in the same spot with a parallel positioning accuracy of plus or minus one inch, could you do it? I guess not. So why should we expect GSE operators to do so? Also, on inspection of every A319, the in-hold entry pallet drive motor was completely worn down to the bare metal. No wonder containers were getting locked between the load guides: they were unable to pull containers in, relying only on the loader pushing them in.

Corrective action:

Short term quick fix: Focused driver training on the importance of perfect alignment and paint a red stripe on the loader to help line up accurately with a red mark on their aircraft.

Medium term fix: Fit a load bed extension to the loader with a powered roller to move the loader drive station further away from the aircraft body and fit soft rubber buffers to the cab. Also, get aircraft maintenance to replace the in-hold pallet drive rubber wheel more regularly, before it gets worn down to bare metal.

Long term fix: Get Airbus to consider changing its in-plane container guide design on all new aircraft to a better container lead-in design, preventing container lock up and allowing less accuracy of the loader operator.

In summary, that Eureka moment has allowed BA to engineer out the chances of repeating this particular incident, but only by working together with Airbus, with their operators and with the GSE manufacturers to solve seemingly impossible problems. If this partnership is well managed by the airline, as it was by British Airways, we can start to make a (metaphorical) dent in reducing the aircraft damage bills.

Main News August 3 2012


New lounge at Tom Bradley

Star Alliance member carrier Air New Zealand has been selected to design and manage the Alliance’s new lounge at Los Angeles International. The facility is the result of a US$1.7bn investment that has seen the redevelopment of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which was commissioned by Los Angeles Worldwide Airports.
The Los Angeles Lounge becomes the first Star Alliance branded lounge to feature a new design concept aimed at satisfying the needs of today’s traveler. Designed by the Gensler company of architects, this facility owes much to a contemporary interpretation of modernist Los Angeles architecture dating from the 1950s and the 1960s. To that end, it incorporates predefined spaces to suit a wide range of passenger requirements. Read more

Main News July 20 2012


Baggage fees not seen as a deterrent

Rising baggage fees have not stopped travelers checking in their luggage when they fly. According to the latest Department of Transportation data, US airlines collected more in checked baggage fees in the first three months of this year than in the previous three months.

Between them, the 17 largest airlines collected a total of US$815.8m for baggage fees during the initial quarter of this year. This total was up from US$792m posted in the fourth quarter of 2011. The increase comes in the face of a 4% drop in traffic this quarter, according to Associated Press reports.

Delta Air Lines was prominent, collecting the most (US$198m). United, American and US Airways were all runners-up, with each banking more than US$100m in terms of check-in fees.

Airlines also collected US$631m in changed reservation fees for the first three months of the year: this compares with US$567.1m earned in the fourth quarter of 2011 and US$597.8m garnered during the first quarter of 2011.

Once again, Delta outshone other airlines, banking some US$192.3m from this service.



IAM ratifies fresh contract

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 142 has confirmed that the ramp and stores agents at Alaska Airlines have ratified a new, six year contract. This latest agreement concerns some 600 workforce members and the deal was approved by 91% of those voting.

Various elements are covered under the terms of the document. A phased-in pay rise of 10% is now on the cards and employees can look forward to enhanced merger and job protection, as well as signing bonuses. Other emoluments include increased premium pay and improved benefits and working regulations.

“Both committees are to be commended for their no-nonsense approach to this round of negotiations, which enabled a full and complete agreement to be negotiated and ratified prior to the amendable date of July 19, 2012,” commented the District 142 President, Tom Higginbotham, in a statement. “Such an accomplishment is a rare occurrence in this industry.”


Better baggage handling results welcomed

More on bags: baggage handling results from May this year have shown that, for the eighth month in a row, US airlines have improved their on-time performance.

According to the Department of Transportation and an Air Travel Consumer Report, 83.4% of flights arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time in May this year, which was a 6% improvement when compared to the same month in 2011. in fact, the industry has posted year on year gains for on-time arrivals for each of the past eight months.
In May, 99.72% of all US airline passengers had their bags properly delivered, an all-time record for any May since records began; the previous record was set in May 2010. The May baggage handling performance also represented the twelfth consecutive month of year on year improvement.


Lost – but not always found

According to yet another new survey, airports are an ideal environment in which to lose personal belongings. During 2011, statistics show that, for example, over 8,000 mobile devices were left at seven of the largest airports around the US.

What is more worrying is that only one of those airports reported handing the lost devices over to the authorities. Six out of seven airports said that they were in the habit of donating mobile devices to charity or transferring them to another location.

Portable computers topped the bill, with a total of 3,576 misplaced, equating to 44.6% of all lost devices. Smartphones and tablets were close behind (3,444 lost or 43.0%), whilst USB drives accounted for the remaining 12.4%.

Five out of seven airports stated that most mobile devices were being left behind at Transportation Security Administration’s checkpoints whilst two declared (perhaps unsurprisingly) that they discovered most of the missing devices in restrooms.

Even more alarming was the sheer size of some of lost items, which have included vehicle tires and even microwaves.


Main News July 6 2012


Screening investment perhaps not enough

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan on the US airport screening technologies market has found that during 2011, the TSA spent approximately US$437.1m in contract obligations toward airport screening technologies.

The Transportation Security Agency is responsible for preventing knives, guns and other weapons from being taken on board aircraft. Despite these precautions, more than 800 guns were detected on board aircraft last year. These findings have highlighted the need for more stringent screening methods.



Facing up to the question of CO2

ICAO has said that it will focus on three options in addressing greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this, it will look to eliminate the baseline and credit system, which allowed the trade in baseline increases or decreases.

It was felt that this initiative was broadly similar in scope to global carbon offsetting and as such, represented unnecessary duplication. Remaining options include offsets (with a revenue-generating mechanism) and the tried and trusted cap and trade scheme.

There is ongoing resistance from the US and China (and some other countries) towards the EU’s emissions trading scheme, which has put the International Civil Aviation Organization under pressure to come up with a workable alternative.

ICAO’s Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin, has said that he expected the council to have a draft plan in place by March 2013, effectively extending the proposed 2012 deadline that had been anticipated. But coming up with a scheme that will be acceptable to all of the organization’s airlines, that number close on 200, could well prove elusive.

And so the debate over permit purchase for flights into and out of Europe continues, with no obvious solution on the horizon.



Growth on the cards at BBA

BBA Aviation has committed to a seven-year lease extension and expansion of its Orlando corporate headquarters offices to accommodate anticipated growth.

Signature Flight Support and ASIG, together with their parent company BBA Aviation, collectively have more than 1,000 employees in 12 Florida cities, with almost 200 based in Orlando. The expansion will support the future anticipated growth of the business and the creation of new, high-earning jobs over the course of the next three years.

“We are delighted to commit to our ongoing presence in Orlando.” commented S Michael Scheeringa, President Signature Flight Support and member of BBA Aviation’s Executive Committee. “We found the partnership with both the state and city to be conducive to both retention and growth.”



LAN acquisition goes through

History was made on June 22, when Chile’s LAN Airlines completed a takeover of Brazilian rival TAM, thereby creating the world’s second-largest airline by market value, in a deal that analysts confidently predict will yield up to US$700m in annual cost savings within a period of four years.

It hasn’t gone unnoticed that the new carrier, called LATAM Airlines Group, will be flying into the teeth of a recession: indeed, currently there is a slow-down in economic growth and demand for air travel in Brazil. But those significant cost savings could save the day. The airline will be focussing on improving performance in Brazil and it is hoped that during the merger, there will be little in the way of redundancies.



Volaris fined for misleading website

Recently, the US Department of Transportation fined Volaris US$130,000 for failing to disclose to consumers that they might have to pay baggage fees when buying a ticket.
“We adopted our rule on baggage fees to make sure that consumers have complete and accurate information about how much they will have to pay when they book a flight,” confirmed the US Transportation Secretary. “We will continue to take enforcement action when carriers fail to comply with our rules.”
According to the DOT’s latest regulations, carriers must clearly and prominently disclose on the first PC window that offers a fare for a customer’s itinerary whether or not additional fees for baggage may apply. Moreover, it is obliged to direct travelers to where they can view applicable baggage fees. This regulation applies to all airlines selling air transportation in the US, including foreign carriers.



Oiling the wheels – but not everybody’s

Delta Air Lines, which in a recent, well-publicized report decided to buy an oil refinery in an attempt to gain more control over its aviation fuel costs, has stated that it will not be selling jet fuel on the open market.

The carrier’s subsidiary, Monroe Energy, is to invest some USD$100m to convert the 185,000 barrels per day refinery in Pennsylvania in an attempt to increase its jet fuel output to 52,000 barrels per day, which represents about 32% of its output. Monroe Energy, which has been specifically set up to own the refinery, will then sell the fuel back to Delta.



Airports set to gain in the Philippines

Cebu Pacific has unveiled its self check-in kiosks at eight airports across the Philippines, enabling passengers to check in more quickly for any domestic Airbus flight during this coming summer’s peak travel period.

“We hope our guests take advantage of this added convenience, so they can breeze through the check-in process this summer. This is similar to our Web check-in service, which CEB also pioneered in the Philippines,” explained Candice Iyog, CEB’s VP for Marketing and Distribution.

CEB was the first Philippines carrier to offer self check-in (this occurred last December), using computer terminals in Ninoy Aquino International airport Terminal 3. CEB’s self check-in kiosks have now been deployed to a range of airports including Manila, Cebu, Clark, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Tacloban, Kalibo and Puerto Princesa. This service is available for check-in on all Airbus flights, ranging from eight hours to an hour and a half before the flight.
Earlier, the carrier announced that it would be mounting additional flights, in time for the summer, with the arrival of two brand new Airbus A320 aircraft. This includes flight frequency increases to Kalibo, Caticlan (Boracay), Puerto Princesa, Bacolod, Davao, Siargao, Cebu, Iloilo, Pagadian and Dipolog, to accommodate travel demand.

Mallaghan catering to the American market

A US order for five wide-body catering trucks was placed by LSG SkyChefs in December 2011. Driven by a need to expand its current catering truck fleet with good quality and commercially competitive units, LSG opted for the Mallaghan CT6000 model, and in so doing, allowed the opportunity for further expansion of the strong global relationship between the two organisations. The order also represents for Mallaghan its first commercial venture within the US market.


The Mallaghan CT6000 models are built on a International Durastar 4300 commercial truck chassis. Designed to meet all IATA and US specifications, including a design that can stand up to a 90mph jet/wind blast test, the units include Mallaghan’s usual reliable control system features as well as some unique features on the truck, such as electrical linear actuators for four-way motion control on the forward platform and inherent safety interlocks on the rear door to prevent the raising of the cabin body with the door unlocked.

The units were manufactured both in Ireland and in Mallaghan’s new manufacturing facility in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky location will also provide full OEM after-sales support (spare parts, service and technical support) for the US marketplace, as Mallaghan looks to develop its presence within this region. These CT6000 units are likely to be deployed by LSG SkyChefs across multiple locations around the US.

Image Mallaghan

Silent and emissions-free refueling

PLH Aviation Services has begun refueling aircraft with a new three tonne truck that is battery-powered. The truck’s chassis was actually developed by Canadian Electric Vehicles, which is based in Errington, on Vancouver Island. To date the company has manufactured over 60 of these chassis and this represents the first example to be deployed in Canada.


The trucks comprise an Isuzu cab and chassis and have a payload of 6,000 pounds, which is coupled to a speed of 40 kilometres per hour. Each of the environmentally-friendly refuelers relies on a 96 volt AC motor allied to a 30 kW battery pack for locomotion. Charging of the battery pack is effected via the grid and can be achieved in four to six hours, taking advantage of off peak tariffs if need be. Electric drive brings with it all the usual benefits of zero emissions, an absence of engine idling, low operating costs and smooth and quiet running.

The latest sale comes after 20 years of manufacturing these specialist vehicles: the first came about after PLH approached CEV in 2000, with a request for building a refueler for use at Los Angeles airport. The initial dozen units all found homes within the US market; today, around 60 of these trucks have been converted and are in use around airports in North America, Europe, The Middle East and Australia.

Amongst other products, the company is responsible for lavatory trucks and an electric pushback tractor, the so-called Might-E Tug. Another application is that of the Ford Ranger conversion kit that enables a vehicle to be retrofitted with electric power.

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