Delhi Airport Hits 1,000-Movement Sustainable Taxiing Milestone

Delhi Airport has reached an important milestone in its sustainable aircraft movement goal. Using a system known as TaxiBot, the airport was seen 1,000 aircraft push back without using their engines. These goals are a part of Delhi Airport’s goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Air India TaxiBot
Delhi Airport has been using the TaxiBot system since 2019, making it one of the early implementers of the system. Photo: TaxiBot India

The goal

Delhi Airport has officially registered become the first airport in the world to clock 1,000 TaxiBot movements. The result of these engineless pushbacks has been a reduction of 532 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the airport. This is quite an impressive achievement considering the renewed focus on sustainability currently.

TaxiBot GoAir
Delhi Airport wants to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Photo: TaxiBot India

This means that over 1,000 aircraft have used the system to push back from the gate and taxi to the runway. But how exactly does TaxiBot work?

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A semi-autonomous system

Developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, TaxiBot is one of the more interesting engineless taxi innovations in recent years. The electric system allows the pilot to control the towing vehicle using regular controls, simulating a taxi with engines on.

No actual towbar is required for the taxi, with the vehicle lifting the aircraft’s nose wheel to direct it towards or off the gate. Aircraft can taxi at 23 knots, the standard speed used by engines-on taxi as well. However, there is a drive present in the vehicle to make sure everything runs smoothly.

TaxiBot Air India Express
Several major Indian airlines have adopted TaxiBot operations to substantially reduce fuel costs. Photo: TaxiBot India

Just how significant are the savings from using autonomous taxiing? According to TaxiBot India, airlines have saved 214,000 liters of aviation fuel and 230 hours in engine life. This is certainly not pocket change for Indian airlines, especially considering how expensive is jet fuel is for carriers.

In a statement about reaching 1,000 TaxiBot movements, Delhi International Airport CEO Videh Kumar Jaipuriar said,

“The reduction in carbon emissions by use of TaxiBot establishes DIAL as an environment- friendly organisation. This is a major milestone not only for DIAL but also for aviation sector globally, in terms of promoting and adopting alternative and green taxiing solution…Adoption of TaxiBot at Delhi Airport was DIAL’s one of the strategic initiatives to reduce on carbon emissions by planes, as part of DIAL’s objective of becoming a net zero carbon emission airport by 2030.”

More to come

For years now, airlines have been looking for ways to cut fuel burn and engine use during taxiing. This has taken the form of taxiing with only one engine on or investing in technologies like WheelTug. As airlines desperately try to cut costs for the foreseeable future, expect investments in innovating technologies like TaxiBot.

Equally important is the push towards sustainability in aviation operations. Air travel accounts for 2% of greenhouse gas emissions, making it a key sector to reduce emissions. Including electric and autonomous taxi systems is a small step in the long journey to making travel carbon neutral.

What do you think about Delhi Airport reaching 1,000 TaxiBot operations? Let us know in the comments!

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