Linde gets on board with British Airways

Global airline, British Airways, recently acquired 150 new Linde P 250s, electric tow tractors to help improve its operational performance when it moves to Terminal 5. The 150 strong order comprises of 127 long wheelbase P 250s and a further 23 P 250s with a carrying platform for larger and more awkward baggage shapes. British Airways was looking for a materials handling supplier to match its specific requirements and David Bunting, sales director of Linde Material Handling South East, took the challenge on.

Colin McWilliam, general manager ramp services of British Airways, said: Replacing our existing fleet of baggage tugs was a real challenge as we needed to find a model with enough power to navigate some of the inclines around the Terminal 5 campus but balance that with our commitment to reduce our overall vehicle emissions wherever possible.

 The ability to maintain 10 mph minimum speed around the terminal was critical with gradients over 5 per cent and towed loads up to 4,700kg. Linde was able to modify the P 250 model to BAs specific operational requirements by incorporating a twin drive axle from their existing range each with12kW power output to meet the performance criteria. A 960 Ah copper stretch metal battery with 25 per cent more energy and longer operating life than conventional battery will also be fitted. A prototype of the new model was successfully tested at Millbrook (one of Europes leading locations for the development and demonstration of land vehicles) and also on site at Terminal 5.

However, equally important for BA was that the modified P 250s not only met all of their operational requirements but were environmentally friendly.

We are delighted that Linde was able to provide the answer with a powerful yet environmentally-friendly model which has been modified to our own operational requirements. Using an electric powered vehicle is also far more cost-effective, as well as reducing the amount of maintenance each unit requires, Explains Colin McWilliam.

All of the baggage tugs have been built at Linde Material Handling Ltds Basingstoke factory where Matt Dearman, international network manager has been project managing BAs order. So far 25 tractors have already been delivered, the remainder due to be delivered by March 2008.

David Bunting, said: This order is a huge boost for our reputation as a major supplier of ground handling equipment at some of the worlds biggest airports. The main criteria for us was to ensure that the models had the necessary power but with minimal environmental impact. By utilising the latest high performance twin motor drive axle system we were able to meet British Airways tough brief.

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