Air India created history on Tuesday by becoming the first airline in the world to use a TaxiBot on its Airbus A320 with passengers on board. Developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, in partnership with a French company, a TaxiBot (Taxiing Robot) is a pilot-controlled semi-robotic towbarless aircraft tractor used as an alternate taxiing equipment to pull the aircraft from parking bay to the runway.
The TaxiBot was used on AI665 flight which was flying from Delhi to Mumbai and was flagged-off by Air India Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Ashwani Lohani. "The use of Taxibot on the Air India aircraft at Indira Gandhi International Airport today morning is the first such usage on any Airbus aircraft worldwide. Really an achievement to be proud of. A giant step forward towards a cleaner environment," Lohani said.
This device helps in saving fuel and reduces wear and tear of an aircraft's engine as it tows an aircraft from the parking bay to runway with the engines switched-off. The ignition is turned only when the aircraft reaches the runway. These TaxiBots will be used for departing flights only.
With the induction of TaxiBots, Air India has taken a giant step towards curbing carbon emission, which will result in improving air quality and accelerate a greener aviation eco-system.
Further, usage of TaxiBots will significantly bring down the consumption of fuel, by as much as 85 per cent, used during taxiing of an aircraft. The TaxiBots would also help in decongesting boarding gates and apron area by providing efficient pushbacks.