WestJet Airlines (Calgary) on Earth Day showcased its newest environmental innovation, a baggage tug which runs on rechargeable lithium polymer batteries. The tug, which resembles a small tractor, pulls baggage carts to and from the aircraft and is the first of its kind to operate on this type of battery.
As part of a pilot project, the airline worked alongside Corvus Energy, a Richmond-based technology company, to re-engineer the tug to be powered by lithium polymer batteries, removing the need for any fossil fuel to power the equipment. The tug, which began operating in October at Calgary International Airport, successfully performed in frigid temperatures, without incident, throughout the winter.
The change to electric power has allowed the airline to continue its focus on on-time performance, as baggage can be transported to and from the aircraft on approximately 11 flights per day on a single charge.
In May, two electric baggage tugs will arrive in Whitehorse for the launch of daily service to the area, which begins May 17. The airline expects the technology to be effective in the Yukon’s cold weather temperatures where lead-acid batteries are prone to freezing and cannot be recharged once frozen, and where gas-powered tugs are not permitted in the airport’s ground-level baggage areas.
Copyright Photo: WestJet.
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