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Warrenton’s Lektro reaches milestone in aircraft tug sales

Pictured (L to R) Eric Paulson, president of Lektro (left to right) stand with Robert Alderete, SJC station manager for Southwest Airlines; Larry Laney, GSE Director for Southwest Airlines; Don Redwine, Senior Manager-GSE Fleet and Reliability for Southwest Airlines; and John Salter, GSE Reliability & Warranty Manager for Southwest Airlines.  (Courtesy Lektro)
Friday, June 1, 2018

Southwest Airlines recently received Lektro’s 5,300th electric towbarless airplane tug.

Lektro, based in Warrenton, is the world’s leading maker of the towbarless aircraft tractors.

The tug purchased by Southwest for its operations in San Jose, Calif., is a model AP8950SDB-AL-200, the company’s second largest pushback model, and capable of handling aircraft up to 210,000 pounds, including the Boeing 737s Southwest Airlines flies.

The model was introduced in 2014 at the request of airlines for a tug certified to handle the B737 and A320 families of aircraft. 

“Since starting this project with Lektro in 2014, Southwest has purchased 56 pushbacks and has converted five cities completely over to the Lektro product” said Larry Laney, Southwest Airlines’ director of Ground Support.

The new units replaced Southwest’s conventional fossil-fueled tractor fleet at SJC. Their use will ensure safe and reliable pushback operations while lowering the overall carbon emissions at the airport.

Lektro’s products are in use in 93 countries. As a testament to their quality of construction and reliability, their second tug ever manufactured is still in operation (the first unit recently was taken out of service and is on display in Lektro’s Warrenton museum). 

Lektro was founded in 1945 by Wilt Paulson, who invented the first towbarless tow vehicle in 1967, revolutionizing aircraft towing. Paulson’s son, Eric, took over the company in 1985.


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