AirAsia India on October 5 announced the implementation of an Alternate Taxiing Solution - 'TaxiBot', which, the company said, will be "driving sustainability and optimising efficiency in aviation operations".
The carrier has tied up with KSU Aviation, the exclusive operator of the TaxiBot in India.
Notably, Taxibot is a semi-robotic towbarless aircraft movement device developed by Israel Aerospace Industries. It can tow an aircraft from the terminal gate to the take-off point (taxi-out phase) and return it to the gate after landing (taxi-in phase) without utilising the aircraft engines.
"Taxibot significantly reduces aircraft fuel usage, emissions and noise levels at airports, and the risk of foreign object and jet blast damage, and operates with a hybrid-electric engine," the airline said in a press release.
AirAsia India is the first Airbus operator in the world to start TaxiBot services with passengers onboard with a modified Airbus fleet.
"This landmark announcement is in keeping with AirAsia India’s sustainability strategy, after a series of enhancements since successful process evaluation trials in March 2019," the aviation company said.
TaxiBot is proclaimed as the "green revolution in airplane taxiing", helping enhance fuel efficiency and predictive maintenance and services, it added.
The aircraft engineering modifications were done by Air India’s best-in-class engineering team and required routing more than 50 new wires inside the aircraft, installation of relays in the Avionics Bay and a control panel in the cockpit, and a series of operational tests prior to certification.
Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO of Delhi International Airport Ltd, has welcomed the initiative of AirAsia as it can significantly reduce carbon emissions.
"Delhi Airport is one of the leading airports globally in adopting environmental sustainability solutions. It was the first in the world to introduce Taxibot - an operationally efficient and environment-friendly advanced taxiing solution - in 2019. Adoption of TaxiBot has been a significant initiative by DIAL to reduce carbon emissions, as part of its objective of becoming a 'net-zero carbon emission airport' by 2030,” Jaipuriar said.
Notably, Delhi Airport has emerged as a trendsetter in alternate taxiing solutions by using TaxiBots as part of its regular operations. It is the first airport in the world to adopt this green taxiing solution in May 2019.
Since then, the airport has witnessed 1,500 movements of sustainable taxiing of aircraft in September 2021, which has helped in reducing around 880 tonnes of carbon at Delhi Airport and helped airlines in saving around 278 tonnes of aviation turbine fuel.
A KSU Aviation spokesperson said Air Asia India is setting a "new industry’s first benchmark towards successful implementation of reducing ground carbon emission with the introduction of TaxiBot Program as part of its regular fleet operations".
The KSU spokesperson mentioned that the present fleet of TaxiBot’s deployed at Indian airports had completed around 1,500 TaxiBoting operations and an additional 40 TaxiBots are slated to be operational at Indian airports, a major force multiplier towards reducing ground carbon emission in the world’s leading aviation market.