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BA turns to newly launched petrol-engined Mercedes-Benz Citans

Supplied by the Heathrow branch of commercial vehicle dealer Rygor, all are Long-bodied Traveliner 112 models with five seats and feature the new 114hp 1.2-litre unit, which offers low particulate emissions and fuel-saving BlueEFFICIENCY technology, including the Eco start/stop function, as a standard feature.

A total of 28 Citans are now in service with the airline’s Ramp Operations team, which is expanding. A further 18 have gone to BA Engineering, while 11 more will be delivered shortly, for use by BA World Cargo Operations.

The Citans are replacing diesel-engined vehicles by another manufacturer. BA contract management executive Billu Kler said: ‘Ours is not a typical transport operation. These vehicles are required to move staff from one aircraft stand to another, and between buildings around the airport.

‘So journeys are invariably short, and undertaken at very low speeds. Diesel engines are not appropriate, because the fact that they never reach high temperatures means the particulate filters can struggle to cope and even become clogged.’

He continued: ‘We were keen to keep things as simple as possible by identifying a single vehicle that would meet the needs of our various teams. After conducting trials our colleagues in BA Engineering concluded that the Long-bodied Citan Traveliner is the ideal size for the job, while our adoption of the petrol engine means the particulate filter issue does not arise.’

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