Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) today announced good commercial prospects for its TaxiBot, which it is jointly developing with Airbus and Lufthansa. The TaxiBot is a semi-robotic vehicle, controlled by a plane's pilot, for towing the plane from the terminal gate to the takeoff point on the runway, without the need to operate the plane's engines and consume expensive jet fuel. This also reduces noise.
IAI announced that the TaxiBot, which has been a focus of great interest by airlines worldwide, has passed a series of tests at Toulouse Airport in France, Airbus's home base, and that another round of tests will be carried out soon.
IAI will unveil details about the TaxiBot's breakthrough at the Farnborough Air Show next week. IAI and Airbus will have a joint pavilion where they will try to market the TaxiBot. The companies have already agreed that regular production of the TaxiBot will be carried out by French airport ground support equipment maker TLD Group.
IAI said that its collaboration with Airbus on the TaxiBot was deep and close, and that the system demonstrated its ability to tow Airbus jetliners in the earliest tests. IAI talks about the TaxiBot with enthusiasm, saying that it will change the face of the aviation industry, because of its huge savings in airlines' fuel costs and because it meets strict new air pollution and noise reduction standards.
According to calculations by IAI, a Boeing 747 consumes an average of 1,000 liters of jet fuel travelling from the terminal gate to the takeoff point. Use of the TaxiBot reduces this to 25-30 liters.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 5, 2012
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