MIAMI – Iberia (IB) is rolling out a fleet of new electric Mototok Spacer 8600 aircraft tugs. They will operate using a remote control and help reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Madrid Barajas Airport Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) and Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN) will be the first airports to receive the tugs.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, IB’s handling and maintenance units have been investing in innovative and sustainable technologies. The airline says it is a pioneering user of these technologies. It is “determined to reduce its environmental impact, incorporate renewable energy, reduce paper and plastics and recycle,” according to its website.

The use of electric aircraft tugs is just one of the many ways IB is helping to take care of the environment. The airline is practicing responsible waste management to the best of its ability. This includes operating fuel-efficient aircraft, recycling 80% of cabin-generated waste, and using energy from renewable sources.

Reducing CO2 Emissions

Iberia claims that each Spacer 8600 will cut CO2 emissions by 23 metric tons (23,000kg) per year. The tugs do not produce any sort of exhaust, which allows them to operate safely indoors. The airline will be able to move aircraft in and out of hangars with them.

As of 2019, IB has renewed 80% of its motorized vehicles. Around 40% of the airline’s equipment have electronic capabilities. By incorporating alternative energy sources, the airline has seen a significant reduction in harmful emissions. Additionally, it has decreased its consumption of fossil fuels.

Photo: Francesco Cecchetti

Improving Safety and Efficiency

In addition to cutting CO2 emissions, the Spacer 8600 will improve safety and efficiency on the ground. The ramp is a busy place: people, aircraft, and vehicles are constantly on the move. Iberia says its new tugs operate more precisely than their predecessors. This is crucial to keeping workers and equipment out of harm’s way.

The first eight tugs will enter service later this month. Powered by 80V batteries, they will be capable of moving 28 aircraft in between charges. They will be used with IB’s Airbus narrowbody fleet, which consists of the A319, A320, and A321.

Iberia’s new Mototok Spacer 8600 electric aircraft tug. Photo: Iberia