KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has begun trialling a sustainable method of taxiing aircraft to the runway at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The trial is being carried out with a Taxibot – a hybrid semi-robotic, pilot controlled towing vehicle which, unlike the normal pushback trucks, is licenced to tow full aircraft to near the start of the runway without the aircraft having to start its engines.
The new initiative is expected to reduce fuel consumption during taxiing by 50% to 85%. Schiphol Airport has made the Taxibot available to KLM, Transavia and Corendon to enable them to carry out joint research into more sustainable ways to taxi.
During the test, an empty KLM Boeing 737 was towed to the runway by the Taxibot.
“It’s important to find out how far we can cut CO2 emissions by using the Taxibot,” explained KLM’s Project Manager, Jeroen Jaartsveld.
“We’d also like to know how long it takes to taxi with the Taxibot, what effect this has on aircraft engine maintenance and how we might introduce sustainable taxiing with Taxibots on a large scale into Schiphol’s daily operations,” Jaartsveld said.