UK's easyJet to trial electric taxiing system

UK carrier easyJet will be the first airline to support the development and trial of the innovative new electric green taxiing system (EGTS) in collaboration with Honeywell and Safran.
Due to the high frequency and short sector lengths of easyJet’s operations, the airline’s aircraft consume annually around 4% of total fuel used when taxiing.
Honeywell and Safran are targeting to offer the electric green taxiing system either on new aircraft or as a retrofit solution to in-service aircraft as early as 2016.
The development and trial will help establish whether these savings can be realised and also quantify other benefits. easyJet will also assist in establishing the airline standard operational procedures for aircraft equipped with the system.
easyJet’s aircraft average 20 minutes of taxi time per flight – the equivalent of 3.5 million miles a year. The first operational trials are expected to start in 2013.
Ian Davies, Head of Engineering and Maintenance, easyJet, said, “This collaboration with Honeywell and Safran allows us to bring our huge experience of high frequency and high levels of operational performance to the partnership to ensure that the solution meets our needs.”
Yves Leclère, Safran Executive Vice President, Transformation said, “We are very pleased to partner with easyJet on the electric green taxiing system. It is a clear vote of confidence from a major airline which gives significant credibility to our system and value model.”
John Bolton, President, Honeywell’s Air Transport and Regional business, added, “Our complementary technologies and fully integrated customer approach have earned the confidence of a major player in the airline industry, and we will highly value easyJet’s operational input in developing the EGTS.”
The EGTS allows aircraft to taxi without requiring the use of aircraft engines by using the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) generator to power motors in the main wheels. Each of the aircraft’s powered wheels is equipped with an electro mechanical actuator, while unique power electronics and system controllers give pilots total control of the aircraft’s speed, direction and braking during taxi operations. The system would therefore reduce, if not remove altogether, the need for tugs to manoeuvre aircraft in and out of stands.