The manufacturer of the Lektro electric aircraft tug brought its 4,500th tug–an AP 8850 SDA–to this year’s NBAA show and will present that tug to the customer, Jet Aviation Dubai, at Booth 1881 tomorrow. Warrenton, Ore.-based Lektro, the official NBAA static display towing provider since 1996, began making electric-powered aircraft tugs available for the show at the 1986 convention in Anaheim, Calif.
Aircraft ground handling
Swissport, the world’s largest provider of ground and cargo handling services, has opened another FBO under its PrivatPort brand in Germany. A joint venture between the company and Munich Airport ground handling provider Losch Airport Service, the location made its debut last week just in time for Oktoberfest. It offers dedicated modern passenger and crew lounges, customs and immigration assistance, airport slot coordination, fueling and catering arrangements and quick turns.
FBO chain Avflight opened its new facility this week at Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Mich., a year-round tourism destination. Operating out of the airport’s general aviation terminal, the Avfuel-branded facility offers a range of fueling products and services. In addition to fuel and Avfuel programs, Avflight Traverse City features concierge services, a pilot lounge area, flight-planning facilities, courtesy vehicles, de/anti-icing services, cargo loading/unloading, charter handling and on-site rental cars.
F&E Aerospace selected Jetex as the host FBO for the aviation events it organizes in the UAE at Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central, namely MEBA and the Dubai Airshow. At these events, Jetex will provide aircraft pushback and towing to all show aircraft. The FBO will also provide a VIP lounge for passengers and crew, with services such as customs and immigration, visa arrangements, aircraft parking and coordination of aircraft display areas. MEBA 2014 will be held in December, followed late next year by the Dubai Airshow.
The problem with most aircraft towbars and tugs is that the operator can’t see what’s happening with the wingtips and tail, so extra personnel are always needed when moving an aircraft into a tight spot. Krefeld, Germany-based Mototok International (Booth 5539) has solved this by using a wireless remote-controlled tug system for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, which can be operated by one person standing at any spot while moving the aircraft.
Winner Aviation has expanded its maintenance operation into a hangar it acquired in 2011. The 14,000-sq-ft building provides Winner an additional 12,000 sq ft of hangar space and 2,000 sq ft of office space. The new maintenance hangar will enable Winner to accommodate light to midsize business jets as well as other turbine aircraft for maintenance repairs and inspections.
Three companies are competing to offer airlines a fuel-saving way to have their aircraft taxi with engines shut down.
After a four-year absence from its product line, Lektro will be restoring its smallest battery-powered aircraft tug, the AP8350, to its lineup next month. According to the Oregon-based company, the tug–which can handle aircraft weighing up to 10,000 pounds–has been revived to meet the needs of customers operating very light jets. The tug couples a traction motor directly to a helical-gear Dana differential and has a universal nose-gear lifting cradle. An on-board GPU is optional.
Activity among the service provider chains over the past few months suggests the FBO consolidation kettle is steaming again and whistling loudly. Last month, Atlantic Aviation, which previously had no Florida FBOs, made a big splash with the announcement of its $195 million acquisition of Galaxy Aviation. Atlantic added four of Galaxy’s Florida FBOs: at Orlando International, Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine, Witham Field Airport in Stuart and Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach.
FlightSafety International has partnered with Gulfstream to provide an online course for FBOs on the proper ground handling for the Savannah OEM’s large-cabin business jets. The course covers all facets of handling and servicing, such as towing, parking, fueling, aircraft safety walk-around, lavatory servicing, window cleaning and snow and ice removal. “This course, which has been updated to include the G650, is a thorough review of how to keep our business jets–and the people who service them–safe,” said Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream product support.
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