Auto International: Follow Me Autos : Please follow!

In the past, you could see the black and yellow checkered vehicles with a flashing bridge of lights and glaring searchlights on the roof at almost every airport.

Auto International: Follow Me Autos : Please follow!

In the past, you could see the black and yellow checkered vehicles with a flashing bridge of lights and glaring searchlights on the roof at almost every airport. They made sure that the planes could easily find their parking space after a successful landing and in any weather - regardless of whether it was to the passenger exit on the finger or directly to the maintenance hall. But now the world of aviation looks different. The larger airports have embedded a dense network of light-emitting diodes in the approaches and departures of the runways. Although the pilot and co-pilot receive the relevant information before landing as to which area of ​​the airport they should go to, the specially switched LED strips on the ground, together with the digital navigation charts, reliably show the way to the desired terminal and fingers.

At smaller airports and as a security solution, there are also the so-called follow-me vehicles at the large airports. You pick up the plane at the runway and drive ahead to the final parking lot for the machine. While the vehicles were once unnoticed commercial vehicles from the VW Beetle to the old Land Rover Defender to the Mercedes G-Class or Saab 900, the vehicles were discovered years ago as an unusual marketing tool.

There has been a close cooperation between the car manufacturer Lamborghini and Bologna Airport since 2013. In the meantime, Lamborghini not only provides changing follow-me vehicles, which cause a stir among many passengers, but the Lamborghini exhibition area in the passenger terminal is being expanded into a fully-fledged boutique. “The proven cooperation between our company and Bologna Airport is entering the next round. Lamborghini's presence at this hub has two meanings: on the one hand, it strengthens the connection to our home region, with which we feel closely connected," says Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann, "on the other hand, it is also an important calling card for passengers from all over the world who can experience our brand up close. This mixture of regional focus and global vision is fully in line with the Lamborghini philosophy.” The partnership between Lamborghini and G. Marconi Airport, which began in 2013, was recently extended until 2025.

Nazareno Ventola, General Manager of Bologna Airport: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Lamborghini, one of the top local companies that best represents what our region has to offer in terms of innovation, style and competitiveness. On the occasion of the continuation of this cooperation, we have, among other things, created a new tailor-made service for our most demanding customers. This allows them to enjoy the Lamborghini experience as soon as they step off the plane – something like that is only available at Marconi Airport.” used by most customers on the racetrack alone. A new feature at the airport is a VIP shuttle with the Lamborghini Urus. The chauffeur service can be pre-booked through the airport's You First VIP program and ensures an extra luxurious service to and from the aircraft – complete with staff and Lamborghini Urus.

Things are not quite as exclusive at the airport in the Italian city of Genoa. The hub of the Liguria region has been linked to national and European destinations since 1962. Several Citroen Ami vehicles have recently been deployed on the airfield at Genoa Airport as follow-me vehicles. The range of the small electric cube of almost 75 kilometers is enough for several days. The tiny 5.5 kWh battery that powers the six-kilowatt electric motor can be charged within three hours at a 220-volt socket. If the Citroen Ami is often a rolling traffic obstacle in normal traffic with a maximum speed of 45 km/h, this speed is sufficient on the airport apron. It also scores with a turning circle of seven meters and compact dimensions. Marco Bresciani, Airport Manager of Genoa Airport: “We are very excited about this initiative, which is in line with our program to electrify our company vehicles. The Citroën Ami has all the necessary qualities to meet our mobility needs. By adding three to our fleet, we can carry out all of our daily activities on the airport aprons with extreme efficiency while helping to protect the environment.”

The black Porsche Cayenne S Diesel only had to do one trip in 2017 at Charles de Gaulle Airport north of Paris. But the pressure was great and hundreds of thousands of pairs of eyes wanted to see whether the Cayenne could set a new record. The luxury SUV with its 385 hp / 850 Nm four-liter diesel was supposed to pull a 73-meter-long and 285-tonne Airbus A 380 belonging to Air France out of the hangar onto the apron. What many had thought impossible: the Cayenne set the world record and got the world's largest passenger plane out of the maintenance hangar specially built for it. When trying again, the same thing happened with the even more powerful Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.

The electric Mini Cooper SE also only had a brief advertising campaign at Frankfurt Airport. For a social media campaign, the electric Mini took on the imaginary role of an aircraft tractor and guided a Boeing 777F freighter – empty weight 150 tons – to its loading position. In the 45-second commercial, which was created in cooperation with Mini and Lufthansa Cargo, the Mini Cooper SE presented itself as “The Muscle Car” that pulls the much larger and heavier transport aircraft across the runway. The use of a fleet of BMW i3 and BMW 225xe at the airports of Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Düsseldorf is much more realistic. Mini Coopers have been used as follow-me vehicles at Munich Airport for promotional purposes since 2001.