Remote controlled devices are being introduced by British Airways to push back aircraft across its short-haul fleet.
The airline is modernising its operation in an effort to maintain and further improve punctuality.
The battery-powered Mototok vehicles will allow BA staff at Heathrow to prepare aircraft for departure more efficiently.
The airline claims to be the first commercial operator to deploy the devices across multiple aircraft stands.
The equipment, used to move Airbus short-haul aircraft, replaces traditional diesel tugs, allowing a single ramp agent to push an aircraft backwards from the gate remotely.
Five emissions-free Mototoks are currently in operation across 25 stands at Terminal 5. Since being introduced in August, they have handled aircraft carrying 100,000 passengers.
Mototok use is to be expanded across the airline’s s short-haul operation by the end of the year.
BA is exploring the possibility of introducing the technology to push back long-haul aircraft in the future.
The Mototok’s electric battery can hold its charge for up to three days, and charging points will be installed on each of the 25 stands at Heathrow Terminal 5.
BA chief operating officer Klaus Goersch said: “British Airways is the most punctual, major short-haul airline in London. The introduction of the Mototok will help us to stay at the top of the league and keep our flights departing on time.
“This major step to modernise our operation is a first in the airline industry, and part of wider investment in new technology that will enhance the experience our customers have.”
Heathrow sustainability director Matt Gorman said: “Mototoks are an essential part of our sustainability strategy and its goals to reduce emissions from our airside activities.
“Together with innovative partners like British Airways we are bringing new electric and hybrid vehicles and charging points to the airport to make a tangible, positive difference in our local environment.”
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