GIBRALTAR, Jan. 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WheelTug plc, the aviation electric taxi innovator, and Ethiopian Airlines, the largest carrier in Africa, have agreed to allocate 30 WheelTug systems to Ethiopian's Boeing 737 fleet.

This agreement raises the number of assigned WheelTug slots to almost 1,300 aircraft across more than two dozen airlines worldwide.  Ethiopian follows eight airline signings for WheelTug in 2018.

The WheelTug system consists of high-performance electric motors powered by the aircraft's auxiliary power unit, installed in the nose gear wheels of the aircraft.  Pilots gain full maneuverability and greater autonomy on the ground; they can carry out pushback and taxi operations without relying on tow tractors or the aircraft's jet engines.  

Ethiopian will be able to reduce its costs and improve its system-wide performance through fleet utilization gains and more dependable departures.  Moreover, the carrier will spend less on maintenance expenses and its aircraft will retain greater value.  Using WheelTug for breakaway power, aircraft engines are less likely to create the FOD (foreign object debris) vortices that over time decrease engine performance.

WheelTug CEO Isaiah Cox said, "Ethiopian is a superb addition to WheelTug, and we look forward to seeing Ethiopian expand its markets with a little help from our company."

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam agreed.  "We are happy to partner with the world’s well-known aviation electric taxi innovator, WheelTug. Ethiopian Airlines has always been at the forefront of technology in Africa.  As the largest airline in the continent with more convenient connections, Ethiopian Airline now brings more people to Africa than any other carrier, and WheelTug will help its efforts to deliver the best possible travel experience to its esteemed customers."

About Ethiopian

Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the fastest growing Airline in Africa. In its seventy plus years of operation, Ethiopian has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success.

Ethiopian commands the lion’s share of the Pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to more than 119 international passenger and cargo destinations across five continents. Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft. Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 that will see it become the leading aviation group in Africa with Six business centers: Ethiopian International Services; Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services; Ethiopian MRO Services; Ethiopian Aviation Academy; Ethiopian ADD Hub Ground Services and Ethiopian Airports Services. Ethiopian is a multi-award winning airline registering an average growth of 25% in the past seven years. 

For more information:

Mr. Asrat Begashaw
Manager Corporate Communications, Ethiopian Airlines
Tel: (251-1) 517-89-07/656/165/913/529
CorporateCommunication@ethiopianairlines.com
www.ethiopianairlines.com
www.facebook.com/ethiopianairlines
www.twitter.com/flyethiopian

About WheelTug plc
Based in Gibraltar, WheelTug plc is developing the WheelTug aircraft electric drive system. A full listing of WheelTug partner companies and airline customers is on the company's website at http://www.wheeltug.gi.

Forward-looking statement at http://www.wheeltug.gi/fls.shtml 

For more information:

Jan Vana
Director, WheelTug plc
+420 724 276 506 [CZ]
+1 410 419 0082 [US]
exec@wheeltug.gi
www.wheeltug.gi