Logistics

Use of taxibots to restart in Delhi, Bengaluru airports next month

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on June 22, 2020 Published on June 22, 2020

File photo   -  stellalevi

The use of taxibots, a semi-robotic landing gear extension equipment to push an aircraft close to the take-off point, will restart in the first week of July at Delhi and Bengaluru airports, Ashwani Khanna, Director, KSU Aviation, said on Monday.

KSU Aviation is involved in operating taxibots at both the airports.

“We have tied up with SpiceJet and Air India Express for the use of taxibots at the two airports,” Khanna told Business Line. He added that after an initial trial of taxibots with Blue Dart’s aircraft, commercial operations are expected to begin in early July.

Khanna said that meetings were also held with Airbus and Indian operators of the Airbus variety of aircraft and some operators were keen in using the technology. Apart from Air India, AirAsia, IndiGo and GoAir operate Airbus aircraft. The use of taxibots will have a positive impact on the environment.

Taxibots help push an aircraft to a point short of the runway where it can start its engines for take-off.

Given that a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A-320 aircraft, on an average, takes about 11 to 13 minutes to taxi, it is likely to burn over 200 litres of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF).

Conventionally, an aircraft is tugged by a ground vehicle to the Tug Detach Point (TDP), which is normally reached within 1.5 to 2 minutes. Following this, the aircraft switches on its engines and taxies to the runway. Starting the engine early means the aircraft not only has to use the expensive ATF but it also leads to both noise and air pollution as carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Using taxibots delays the switching on of the engines and has a positive impact on the environment.

The use of taxibots started in October 2018 with a SpiceJet aircraft using the semi-robotic tow truck. With domestic flight operations coming to a halt on March 25 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the use of taxibots were also stopped.

Published on June 22, 2020
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