GoAir to test Honeywell/Safran electric taxiing system

Washington DC
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Indian low-cost carrier GoAir has signed a memorandum of understanding with Honeywell and Safran to test their jointly developed electric green taxiing system (EGTS), which allows aircraft to push back from the gate without using a tug or main engines.

The Airbus A320 operator will provide data on taxiing operations to Honeywell and Safran under the deal, which will help calculate the benefits the carrier would see from using the system and to help create standard operational procedures for airlines using the EGTS.

Honeywell and Safran estimate that the EGTS could save airlines between $200,000 and $450,000 per year by reducing fuel burn and cutting down on damage to engine turbines from foreign objects on the tarmac.

“At GoAir, we are constantly looking for innovative ways to lower costs for our passengers while improving their flying experience at the same time,” says Giorgio De Roni, GoAir’s chief executive. “This agreement allows us to actively participate in the system’s development--a technology that we believe has the potential to not only save fuel and reduce costs, but also improve aircraft turnaround times and lower noise and emissions in the airport environment.”

The EGTS system uses the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit (APU) to run motors on the main landing gear wheels, allowing the aircraft to push back without running its main engines.

The firms have said that line-fit versions of the EGTS for the A320 and Boeing 737 will be ready in 2016, with retrofits available a year later.

The suppliers first publicly demonstrated the EGTS at last year’s Paris air ahow, where Air France signed a preliminary agreement to evaluate the benefits of the technology. Airbus also signed an MOU late last year to work on developing the A320 version of the system.

Honeywell and Safran have logged more than 200km (124 miles) of rolling tests with the EGTS since it first moved an aircraft in April 2013.