Mexican airline Interjet has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Honeywell and Safran, developers of the Electric Green Taxiing System (EGTS), to become the first airline in the Americas to use the system which will save airlines up to $450,000 per plane, per year once it comes to market.
EGTS uses electricity provided by the plane's Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and to motors on the plane's main wheels to allow the plane to taxi without the use of its main engines — much like how a hybrid car uses only its battery at slower speeds. The motors allow the plane to be controlled both forward and reverse, meaning a pushback tug would not be required for the plane to depart from the gate. In addition, fewer moving vehicles in the gate area creates a safer environment for ground crews.
Brian Wenig, Vice President EGTS Program at Honeywell said:
"Interjet will help us to confirm that EGTS is the only on-board system currently in development capable of generating enough traction during taxiing in all weather conditions and at all airports. The partnership will also help us refine system capabilities for operation in different environmental conditions that change the demand placed on the Auxillary Power Unit, used to provide power the EGTS motors."
Aircraft engines are at their least efficient when they're on the ground, and consume costly fuel just getting to and from the runway. Noise and carbon emissions at the airport are estimated to be reduced by 50 to 75 percent as the main engines are run for less time while on the ground. Reduced engine run also decreases the likelihood of damage from ingestion of foreign object debris, or "FOD."
EGTS is also being evaluated by Airbus to use the system on its A320 aircraft family, calling the program "eTaxi."