Most people probably don’t think too much about what is involved with moving commercial jets while they are still on the ground. Currently, pushback vehicles safely move aircraft backward from gates most of the time, while the engines power forward taxiing. Aiming to change all of that, WheelTug has been working on an electric built-in unit that can move the aircraft backward and forward without having to engage the engines or tugs. 

“WheelTug is about innovation that enables massive customer benefits,” CEO Isaiah Cox says.

WheelTug has become an industry leader in what is now an emerging e-taxi market. Its fully integrated ground propulsion e-taxi system is a nosewheel-mounted, high-torque electric motor and drive powered by the aircraft's auxiliary power unit. The goal of the WheelTug system is to save time, fuel and money for airlines by allowing their aircraft to taxi and maneuver at the gate without using their main engines. 

With mobile communications, the whole rental car industry is in a state of flux as legacy companies compete with Internet start-ups that offer car rental by the hour and locations all over cities.

“Because of the cell phone and other technology, the rental car business is changing,” points out Bob Bolton, director of design and construction for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Those changes are being incorporated in the new rental car center that is being built as part of the north side development at San Diego International Airport.

“This building is designed to accommodate the technology and the industry of the future,” Bolton states. “These facilities are set up for 30 years of business.”

It’s not every airport whose customers are coming to see Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter, the Orange County Convention Center or a world-class medical research campus. But those are just some of the destinations to which patrons of the Orlando International Airport are headed, some of whom might be experiencing their first airplane landing or at least their first in a while.

“We’re focused right now from a holistic standpoint on a customer service transformation project,” Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Executive Director Phillip Brown declares. This involves all the agencies and departments at the airport, not just the Aviation Authority but the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and even concessions such as food and beverage, and retail and rental car companies.

As the gateway to one of the United States’ most unique cities, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) has to make sure it stays state-of-the-art. This goal has been the focus of two of its most recent projects, Iftikar Ahmad says. 

Ahmad, the director of aviation for the New Orleans Aviation Board, says MSY recently finished a renovation budgeted at more than $300 million and will soon start the construction of a new terminal. Both, he notes, will ensure the airport has “world-class operations.”

With more than 10 years of experience in the transport business, Progressive Transportation Service (PTS) Inc. has become a freight shipments leader in the western United States. The company’s over-the-road, intermodal and drayage, heavy haul, flatbed and other specialized carrier services are all focused on delivering exceptional results for customers.

Home to the second-largest global operation for FedEx Express, Indianapolis International Airport (IAA) maintained relatively high margins during the worst years of the Great Recession. However, like countless other U.S. airports, the airport’s leisure travel revenues declined as the economy came to a standstill, and that stream has been slow to return to normalcy.

However, the IAA has launched numerous non-airline projects currently under construction and in the pipeline to maintain a solid financial footing in both good times and bad.

Southwest Airlines (SWA) Cargo’s vision and commitment to quality customer service hasn’t changed over the years, but nearly everything else about the operation has. Its technology, service areas and shipping capacity have all adjusted and expanded to serve a customer base that has also changed right along with everything else. Vice President of SWA Cargo and Charters, Matt Buckley, recalls serving a very different customer when the company began operating in the early 1970s. Back then it was primarily small packages, photo films waiting to be developed and canceled checks. But with the advent of the fax machine and industries going digital, shipments today look vastly different.

When the city of big shoulders decided to expand its air cargo facilities at O’Hare International airport in 2012, it chose Aeroterm to develop the 840,000-square-foot project. Aeroterm, headquartered in Annapolis, Md., is the leading specialist in airport real estate investment, development, leasing and management in North America, with more than 20 years of experience in its field.

O’Hare’s centralized location in the United States enables cargo to reach more than 200 cities non-stop nationally and internationally. The airport ranks among the top 10 airports in North America and the top 25 in the world in annual air cargo volume.

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