easyJet to try out electric green taxiing system for aircraft
Low-cost UK airline easyJet is to try out a new electric ‘green’ taxiing system (EGTS) with its aircraft.
The system uses auxiliary power units to drive motors in the main wheels during taxiing, instead of using the aircraft’s engines.
Each wheel is equipped with an electromechanical actuator to give the pilot complete control over the aircraft’s speed, direction and braking.
The system could also reduce of completely eliminate the need to tug vehicles to move aircraft in and out of stands at airports.
In collaboration with partner Honeywell and Safran, easyJet says it will start operational trials of the system in 2013.
Currently, the airline says 4% of its total annual fuel consumption is used during taxiing, which on average accounts for 30 minutes of each flight.
The trial of EGTS, which Honeywell and Safran say could be rolled out more widely on new or retrofitted aircraft as soon as 2016, will demonstrate the savings that can be made and identify other potential benefits.
“easyJet is always seeking innovative ways of reducing our environmental footprint as well as our operating costs so this technology is of great interest to us,” says Ian Davies, head of engineering and maintenance at the airline.