Air India: 1st airline in world to use Taxibot on A-320 aircraft
Air India, the flag carrier airline of India has become the first airline in the world to use a Taxibot on an A-320 aircraft with passengers on board. Ashwani Lohani, Chairman and MD of Air India flagged off the flight AI665 (Delhi – to Mumbai) and it was carried to runway using Taxibot at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI), New Delhi.
Significance: It is the first such usage on any Airbus aircraft worldwide and is a giant step forward towards a cleaner environment. It is expected to bring down the consumption of fuel by 85% and reduce engine wear and tear as the ignition will be turned on only when the aircraft reaches runway. Taxibots will also help in decongesting boarding gates and the apron area by providing efficient pushbacks.
What is Taxibot?
It is a robot-used aircraft tractor for taxiing an aircraft from parking bay to runway and vice-versa. Since taxibot is a pilot controlled semi-robotic towbar-less aircraft tractor which is used as alternate taxiing equipment, therefore it is possible to tow an aircraft from parking bay to runway with its engines switched off.
Taxibots for now will be used for departing flights only and will be significantly used during taxiing of an aircraft.