US aerospace giant, Honeywell has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with France’s Safran to form a new joint venture company to create an eco-friendly aircraft taxiing system.
The new taxiing system, which is expected to be rolled-out from 2016, is intended to significantly improve airline operational efficiency and provide environmental benefits by slashing emissions created during runway taxi operations.
Current industry analysis indicates that the world’s short-haul aircraft consume five million tons of fuel per year during taxi operations. The new electric green taxiing system offered by the Honeywell-Safran JV will save customers up to 4% of the total fuel consumption, while also cutting other emissions produced during taxiing. The system will use the plane’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) generator to power electric motors in the aircraft’s main wheels without using main engines, thereby cutting costs, emissions and reliance on fossil fuels.
“Today, the cost of fuel, and the related cost of carbon emissions, are right at the top of the list of the biggest concerns for any airline,” said Tim Mahoney, President & CEO of Honeywell Aerospace. “By using the new electric green taxiing system to provide the power needed for ground-level manoeuvring, Honeywell and Safran can save our airline customers several hundred thousand dollars per aircraft per year.”
The system, which will be available for both new and existing aircraft, will also enable planes to ‘pushback and go’ more quickly, reducing gate and tarmac congestion and improving on-time departure performance. The system will also eliminate the need for tugging and associated equipment costs, and reduces brake wear. New power electronics and system controllers allow the pilot to control the speed, brakes and direction of the aircraft throughout the taxiing process.