Air India Express has completed the trials for using Taxibots at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport on Monday. As a part of the trial, Air India Express Boeing 737-800 NG series aircraft was taxied from Apron 3 towards Runway 29.
Each taxiing event of about 15 minutes with Taxibot attached saves about 200 litres of Aviation Turbine fuel. In addition to this, it saves engine life plus emission of about 650kg of CO2, Sanjay Bahadur, Head Corporate Communication & Compliance, KSU Aviation Pvt. Ltd said. The Taxibots reduce fuel consumption by 85% and Foreign Object Damage by 50%.
The trials, conducted from 8 am to 10 pm on 18 June 2019, had the presence of senior officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Delhi International Airports Ltd, Air Traffic Control, and KSU Aviation Pvt. Ltd. With this trial, all Boeing operators in India will be using Taxibots. Among Airbus operators, IndiGo has already completed the trial.
Taxibots are used to bring flights from the parking bay to the runway with engines switched off. They are first attached to the plane, and it will lift the plane’s nose wheel. The pilot can then assist these semi-automatic robotic machines to bring the aircraft from the apron area to the runway. This helps the pilots to keep the engines switched off till it reaches the runway starting point, saving fuels. Currently, the aircraft engines are switched on after the closure of passenger boarding and remain switched on till the plane reaches the runway.
Israel Aerospace Industries & TLD is the manufacturer of Taxibots and KSU Aviation has a sale agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries to sell the Taxibots in India. The value of one Taxibot is around 1.5 million Euros.