Commercial, Distributed Energy Resources, GHG Emissions  -  September 30, 2019

JetBlue converts to electric baggage equipment

JetBlue plans to switch its fleet of baggage tractors and belt loaders at JFK International Airport to electric vehicles, which will be the largest fleet of electric ground service equipment of any airline at JFK.

The airline, who announced the conversion Sept. 27, claims the vehicles they purchased will cut 4 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, reduce ground fuel usage by approximately 200,000 gallons of ground fuel a year and save the company more than $500,000 annually. They plan to replace the previous gasoline-powered vehicles with 59 electric bag tugs and 59 electric belt loaders and expect the new equipment to help reduce noise, improve energy efficiency and lessen JetBlue’s environmental impact.

Immediate gains from this conversion include zero tailpipe emissions which will reduce carbon monoxide, ozone precursors and particulate matter. The electric equipment brings additional safety features including a new aircraft detection system to reduce aircraft damage. With this conversion, more than 40% of JetBlue’s motorized vehicles at JFK are now electric.

“Converting our ground service equipment to electric will not only help reduce our emissions, it will help with operational efficiencies including safer and quieter equipment for our ground operations crewmembers,” Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer of JetBlue, said in a statement. “JetBlue has set ambitious goals to manage our CO₂ emissions below the wing by transitioning our ground service equipment to electric power sources where feasible. This is one part of our overall efforts which primarily focuses on reducing our emissions from flying.”

JetBlue will receive a grant for the project from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and assistance from the New York Power Authority, which includes 38 charging hubs across all gates of Terminal 5. The grant, provided by a $4 million Voluntary Airport Low Emissions Program, will account for 75% of the total cost of the charging stations.

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