Mexican budget carrier Interjet has tentatively agreed to support an electric taxi system Honeywell and Safran are developing, by sharing data from aircraft ground operations at high-altitude airports.
The team will focus, for example, on the electric power requirements and APU performance as the electric motors draw energy from the auxiliary gas turbine engine.
Interjet’s participation will “help us refine system capabilities for operation in different environmental conditions”, says Brian Wenig, Honeywell’s vice-president for the programme aimed at delivering a main-wheel electric drive system for Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s.
Wenig adds that the tests should show that the “electric green taxiing system” (ETGS) is the “only onboard system currently in development capable of generating enough traction during taxiing in all weather conditions and at all airports”.
Electric taxi competitor WheelTug is developing a nose-wheel drive system for narrowbodies.
The partnership deal with Safran and Honeywell was “the next logical step in our collaboration to further reduce our carbon footprint”, says Interjet chief executive Jose Luis Garza.
The airline collaborated with Safran’s engine subsidiary Snecma in 2011, when it conducted a biofuel test flight on an Airbus A320 powered by CFM International CFM56 engines.
Interjet is the fourth carrier to collaborate on the EGTS programme after Air France, EasyJet and GoAir.