Add American Airlines to the list of major U.S. airlines that have approved the use of Radiant Energy Corp.'s infrared aircraft de-icing system on its planes.
American became the third major U.S. carrier, and the second this month, to approve the use of Radiant Energy's InfraTek de-icing system on its planes, joining Continental Airlines and US Airways.
Radiant Energy executives said Wednesday the decision by American to approve the use of InfraTek de-icing system was a major step in the Orchard Park company's quest to gain acceptance within the airline industry for its product.
It also could give the company a stronger selling point as it tries to convince airport operators to install its system, which uses infrared heaters to melt snow and ice off planes in a process that Radiant Energy officials say is faster, cheaper and environmentally safer than conventional methods that rely on glycol-based solutions sprayed onto the airplane. The InfraTek system can reduce glycol use by up to 85 percent, company officials said.
With three major U.S. airlines now saying that their planes can use the InfraTek system, a substantial number of the aircraft at many airports now can be counted as potential users for the tent-like de-icing facility.
"We're lining up the customers," said Jay Hussey, a Radiant Energy spokesman. "Obviously, the airports need to justify these installations with the traffic" that might use them.
Radiant Energy has installed the InfraTek system at Continental's hub at Newark International Airport, as well as at Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport in Wisconsin. About 20 percent of Continental's de-icings at the Newark airport last winter used the InfraTek system, Hussey said.
The company also is installing the system at the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport in Michigan and at the airport in Oslo, Norway, with both facilities expected to be ready for use this winter.
Radiant Energy also has an agreement with Continental to install a system at Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, although that facility will not be ready for use this winter because of delays associated with its lease.