This article describes what happens when your plane taxis in to the gate, sits around to be serviced, and taxis back out. There’s a little mention of WheelTug at the end. With each such mention, each new airshow and conference, one has the sense that “e-taxi” is ever more inevitable.
How much if any of that inevitability redounds to our bottom line remains to be seen; but if anticipation is half the fun the — boy — have we not been having fun these last 15 years? I know I have.
Today, WheelTug announced it had signed HNA Aviation, which controls a bunch of Chinese airlines, for an additional 200 planes, bringing total system reservations to 985 spread it over more than 15 airlines — a market penetration of about 10% of all the 737’s and A320’s currently flying.
Of course, my assumption has always been that if any airlines wind up with WheelTugs in their nose wheels, all of them will. Who would buy a TV today that doesn’t come with a remote control? What airline would want a plane that doesn’t save time and fuel, cut maintenance costs, improve safety, and tread lighter on the environment?
With the biennial Farnborough Air Show starting Monday, Borealis shareholders are hopeful — or at least this one is — that some good contacts will be made and the ball moved another few yards down the field.
At last night’s close, grandparent Borealis was valued at $55 million. Yet if 10,000 planes ever were ever throwing off $50,000 each in net profit from WheelTug leases, that alone would be $500 million a year . . . before allowing anything for any of the company’s other highly speculative assets.
(If its patented electric motor can move jet liners, could that same technology, scaled down, have an application in automobiles? elevators? fork lifts? golf carts? And if this implausible Borealis technology ever truly gets off the ground, might some of its others pan out as well?)
The two really important caveats:
> None of this may ever pan out, increasingly hopeful though the signs may be. It’s only for money you can truly afford to lose.
> BOREF is very thinly traded, so if you do go to buy some, be certain to use a “limit order,” lest you find yourself paying a lot more than you had planned to.
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