Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) plans to deploy taxibot, a semi-robotic aircraft tractor capable of towing an aircraft from a terminal gate to the take-off point and return to the gate after launching. This will reduce the fuel consumption of the plane, besides improving apron usage and reducing the emission of harmful gases.
DIAL's Chief Executive Officer Videh Kumar Jaipuriar expressed his excitement in launching an advanced solution that is operationally-efficient and environmentally-friendly. The implementation of the taxibot system will act as a boon for airlines as about 213 litres of fuel will be saved per flight. This will convert into a potential saving of 35 million dollars (about Rs. 245 crores) annually for domestic carriers at Delhi Airport alone, he said.
TaxiBots are technological innovation in the aviation space. We are proud to be the world's first recipients of this technology and commence its commercial operations, he added.
The authorities conducted 400 trial runs for the taxibot in last eight months with three airlines, which were reportedly successful. The trials included stakeholders like DGCA and ATC besides airlines.
During the trial run, the system saved 2.36 lakhs carbon dioxide emissions, 83,265 litres of aviation fuel, 27.3 hours of ground time and 51 hours of engine life. The taxibot is expected to make a potential saving of $35 million annually for domestic carriers at Delhi Airport alone.
Budget airline SpiceJet will be the first one to begin using taxibots. SpiceJet will start using taxibots from Tuesday, and other carriers will follow soon. KSU Aviation will supply the taxibots. Two taxibots will be operational in the next four years. The number will go up to 15.