Thai manufacturer broadens its range of fully electric, zero-emission pushback tractors
Panus Assembly, owner of the Bliss-Fox brand of ground support equipment (GSE), is introducing a line of all-electric pushbacks onto the market following the launch of the green F1-340E in 2018.
The company recently launched its latest aircraft tug: the fully electric, 40-tonne F1-340E pushback tractor. The new vehicle had been in development for two years; customer testing began in late 2018 after it was displayed in October at the GSE Expo in Las Vegas.
Potential launch customers for the Bliss-Fox F1-340E include Thai Airways and Bangkok Flight Services Thailand, which offers full passenger, ramp, and cargo handling services at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport for all types of aircraft from private charters to full service mainline carriers. Simone Livraghi, senior sales and marketing manager at Panus Assembly, told Jane’s that the potential users will conduct at least 1,000 hours of operational testing to verify that all-electric pushbacks have improved durability and reliability over diesel-powered pushbacks. He added that they will buy initial production units if these evaluations prove successful.
In 2019, Bliss-Fox is introducing all-electric variants of the 28-tonne F1-300 and 15-tonne F1-150 all-electric tractor. Development of these vehicles began in 2018. The F1-300 handles pushback and extended towing of aircraft up to 360 tonnes, while the smaller F1-150 is designed for operations with 100–150 tonne narrowbodies. Livraghi said the all-electric F1-300 would be available in February 2019 and F1-150 in April. He added that the vehicles have already generated customer interest in a competitive market segment.
The lithium battery-powered F1-340E reflects how the GSE business is changing, said Livraghi. “Airports are pushing for ‘green’ technology as governments tighten emissions regulations,” he added.
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