French defence/aerospace firm Safran and engineering/aerospace conglomerate Honeywell have teamed up to develop an environmentally friendly airport technology, full operational trials of which could begin in three years time.
Together, they're working on a system that could allow passenger-carrying airlines to reduce their annual fuel bills and aircraft towing costs by around $300,000 per annum, whilst also lowering their impact on global warming.
The system is designed to equip a single aircraft type at present, but it may be diversified to fit a wider variety of airliners in the future. When retrofitted into the Airbus A320NEO design, the system will allow it to perform electric taxis, removing the need to burn jet fuel in its engines while in transit between airport terminals and runways.
According to Safran Aerospace Division's R&D deputy director, Alain Coutrot, the electric aircraft taxiing technology should be especially popular with carriers flying short-haul routes involving rapid turnarounds staged several times a day.
Electric Green Taxiing System
The electric green taxiing system's just started to be tested on an Airbus A320 airliner. These tests will see several factors key to its successful integration into the global airport scene examined and evaluated. These include the kind of loads required to enable successful ground-based aircraft movement.
The electric green taxiing system involves a number of components, including wheel-fitted electromechanical actuators and avionics ensuring pilots can maintain control over the aircraft's heading, speed and braking capacity.
The two firm's involvement in the electric green taxiing system reflects their past work: Safran having extensive experience in landing gear technologies and Honeywell, significant avionics expertise.
Electric Taxi Airport Trials
"The start of electric green taxi testing takes us one step closer to bringing this technology to market, and ultimately to helping to save our customers several hundred thousand dollars per aircraft per year", the President of Honeywell's Air Transport and regional business, John Bolton, explained in a company statement on the upcoming electric taxi airport trials.
The Airbus A320NEO is the latest variant of the European manufacturer's well-established twin-engined airliner design. It features engines producing a 16 per cent fuel burn reduction rate, alongside other elements designed to make it a greener air travel choice.
Airbus image used solely for representational purposes