Schiphol and partners to begin sustainable aircraft taxiing trial

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Schiphol expects to achieve total savings of 50 to 85 percent on fuel consumption while taxiing.

Schiphol and its partners will begin a sustainable taxi test of the aircraft. The planes will be brought to the runway by a special towing vehicle, also known as a “taxibot”, during the trial. This means that aircraft engines will mostly remain off while taxiing.

This test is being conducted by Schiphol together with Air Traffic Control in the Netherlands, the Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment), Corendon Dutch Airlines, KLM, Transavia, easyJet and airline managers dnata and KLM Ground Services. Trials began with towing an empty Corendon aircraft to various runways. If the test is successful, the trial will continue to an operational aircraft in the next phase.

The special towing vehicle is owned by Smart Airport Systems; a sister company of TLD, supplier of ground handling equipment. The vehicle is one of only 10 in the world. It is powered by a hybrid combination of electric and diesel engines and consumes 95% less fuel on taxi than aircraft engines would normally use.

Schiphol expects a total savings of 50 to 85 percent on fuel consumption during taxiing, as the engines need to warm up for a few minutes before departure. Measurements will be taken during the test phase to see what fuel savings can be achieved in practice, which can then be used to reduce emissions at Schiphol. Departing planes take 14 minutes to taxi, while arriving planes take about nine minutes.

The trial will last until June and is part of a feasibility study on sustainable taxiing at Schiphol. Some of the elements studied include how sustainable haulage can be integrated into day-to-day operations, whether it is feasible on a large scale, and how long and in what period the transition phase should be. This feasibility study is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020.

The trial is part of the Smart Sustainable Sector Plan and is being conducted with the approval of the Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport (Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate, or ILT).

Hassan Charaf, Head of Innovation, Royal Schiphol Group, said: “This study is part of our ambition to be the most sustainable airport in the world. We are continuing this important test despite the situation caused by the corona crisis. This unique vehicle will be available to us until at least June. I am proud that Schiphol and its partners are investigating what sustainable traffic can mean at Schiphol. »

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