It has been a while since we last heard about this part of the industry. Low fuel costs pushed it down people’s consciousness. Now that fuel prices are rising again, its coming back. Since the last fuel price spike, the leading contender, WheelTug modified their message to focus on time savings rather than fuel savings.
Meanwhile, the Honeywell/SAFRAN solution has virtually disappeared. The German TaxiBot has also gone quiet. It seems that WheelTug is the last one standing.
Today WheelTug announced another customer commitment. SunExpress, a Lufthansa/Turkish joint venture LCC, announced they “executed a slot option purchase agreement for the SunExpress fleet of Boeing 737NG/MAX aircraft”. This deal includes 66 WheelTug systems.
In announcing this deal, Wheel Tug now has 1,042 systems reserved by airline customers. Note that the FAA’s Acceptance of the Certification Plan last year suggests that WheelTug is on the right side of the curve to achieve entry into service.