United Airlines adds two electric tugs to their fleet at LAX, making it the first and only airport to have them in use.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- United Airlines is flying into the future with their brand new electric super tugs. The machines are used to move airplanes across tarmacs and runways without burning jet fuel. LAX is currently the first and only airport where the emission-free tugs are being used.
"It's a new piece of equipment that my team is really excited to utilize," said Anthony Galvez, a Move Team Assistant Manager for United at LAX. "These two tugs were delivered here to LAX and they are the first ones."
The two battery-powered tugs were introduced to United's fleet about three months ago and can last up to nine hours on a single charge. Company representatives said the addition of the electric vehicles shows their commitment to the environment and aligns with United's goal of eliminating their carbon emissions by the year 2050. An international study from 2015 that came out of the Symposium on Sustainable Aviation found that overall, electric tugs can reduce carbon emissions by about 2.5 times compared to diesel tugs.
"We couldn't be more proud, to be honest with you," Galvez said. "I personally drive an electric vehicle, so to know that the company I work for shares the same values, it's amazing."
Not only are these tugs a benefit to the environment, but each one saves United $50,000 a year in Diesel fuel.
"This is not all," continued Galvez. "United is also invested in electric airplanes. We have a regional jet coming in 2026, we've also invested in electric flying taxis, also invested in hydrogen powered jet engine."
Anthony said San Francisco is up next to get the electric tugs and the end goal is to eventually transition to fully electric ground support equipment.