AirAsia India is considering adopting Taxibot for its planes at Dehli after trialling the service on two of its A320s.
Possible Savings for AirAsia India
AirAsia India has been trialling an aircraft tow machine for their planes could save them money on fuel. TaxiBot is a semi-robotic aircraft towing system that the pilot can control from the cockpit. It’s used to transport the aircraft from the terminal gate to the take-off point and return the plane to the gate after landing. Importantly, the plane’s engines remain shut whilst using Taxibot, meaning less fuel is expended.
AirAsia India has the option of using up to two Taxibot per aircraft per week at Dehli Airport and is currently evaluating whether it will offer them a significant saving. The airline started using the service on two of its Airbus A320neo on 23 November last year.
The cost of Taxibot
The service is not without its startup costs. AirAsia India spent $2000 per aircraft on modifications to make them compatible with Taxibot. The work, which was carried out by the airline’s engineering team, required routing 50 new wires through the aircraft and installing a control panel for the pilot to control the Taxibot from the cockpit. Additionally, rigorous testing had to be carried out to ensure the system worked to specification. AirAsia is currently weighing up the costs to see if it’s worth modifying other aircraft in its fleet.
Keeping the engines shut during taxiing reduces not only fuel usage, but also noise pollution. Additionally, there is less risk of “foreign object damage,” which occurs when something on the ground is sucked into the turbine.
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