Green light for easyJet's electric taxi-ing pilot

Low-cost airline easyJet is to trial a new electric taxi-ing system that could deliver significant fuel and carbon emissions savings by removing the need for aircraft to use their engines when manoeuvring in and out of airport stands.

EasyJet says its aircraft average 20 minutes of taxi time per flight, travelling around 3.5 million miles a year and accounting for about four per cent of the airline’s annual fuel consumption.

However, the electric green taxi-ing system (EGTS) means pilots can turn off the engine and use an auxiliary power unit (APU) generator to power motors in the main wheels instead.

The first trials of the system are set to take place next year and if the estimated savings can be realised, Honeywell and Safran, which jointly developed the technology, could install it on new aircraft or retrofit it to in-service aircraft from 2016.

“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,” said Ian Davies, easyJet’s head of engineering and maintenance, in a statement.

“This collaboration with Honeywell and Safran allows us to bring our huge experience of high frequency and high levels of operational performance to the partnership to ensure that the solution meets our needs.”

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