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Aircraft Wheel & Brake division of Parker Aerospace, an operating unit of Parker Hannifin Corporation ([url=http://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/ph]PH[/url]), has entered into an agreement with WheelTug Plc to exclusively supply wheels for the WheelTug system on the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737NG fleet of aircrafts.

The WheelTug aircraft drive system is installed in the nose gear wheels of an aircraft. It utilizes high-performance electric motors, to give full mobility to the airplane while on the ground, replacing tug vehicles and the use of jet engines for pushback and taxi.

Parker’s Aircraft Wheel & Brake Division is highly experienced and is deployed by virtually all of the world’s leading business and general aviation aircraft manufacturers, as well as regional aviation aircraft, military and commercial helicopters, trainers and unmanned aerial vehicles manufacturers.

Both the companies have been working on this project over the last few months and intend to spread the use of the WheelTug system in other major aircrafts.

At present, the commercial aviation deploys a tug for aircraft gate pushback, while forward taxi is powered by the aircraft’s engines. Further, while taxiing a Boeing 737 consumes 24 to 27 pounds of fuel per minute, while the WheelTug system consumes only 4 pounds of fuel per minute, as it is completely powered by the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit (APU). Therefore, the fuel consumption is reduced by approximately 80%, which will be a huge benefit for the aircraft manufacturers as it will substantially reduce the operational costs.

Apart from reducing fuel consumption, the WheelTug system also provides various other benefits for the aircraft manufacturers. WheelTug substantially reduces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, provides increased safety and flexibility of operations, enables faster turnaround time, provides reduced engine wear and repair costs and also helps reduce noise pollution.

WheelTug projects total savings of approximately $500,000 per aircraft per year. WheelTug systems will offer its technology to airlines entirely on a lease or power-by-the-hour basis. The systems can be installed and operated on aircraft without generating any capital expenditure, thus aiding the airline customers.

Hence, with this WheelTug system, the already-burdened aircraft manufacturers can lower their operational costs in terms of fuel consumption and maintenance. 

Parker-Hannifin Corporation is a leading worldwide full-line diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, including fluid power systems, electromechanical controls and related components. The Aerospace segment contributed 15.6% of the total revenue in fiscal 2011. Its primary competitors include Fluor Corporation ([url=http://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/flr]FLR[/url]), Precision Castparts Inc. ([url=http://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/pcp]PCP[/url]) and Ingersoll Rand ([url=http://www.zacks.com/stock/quote/ir]IR[/url]).

Parker Hanifin currently holds a Zacks #4 Rank, which implies a short-term (1-3 months) Sell rating on the stock.

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