Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has entered an agreement with KSU of India for operating TaxiBot vehicles at New Delhi and Mumbai airports. The contract will be implemented in two stages. In the first phase, TaxiBot vehicles will be delivered to the airports and run in a controlled trial until end 2018. The second phase will involve the delivery of 38 additional vehicles in four years to New Delhi and Mumbai airports as well as to the general Indian market. India’s aviation market has grown by 20% a year in the past three years, and it will soon be named as the third largest aviation market in the world.
TaxiBot is a semi-robotic vehicle which connects to the aircraft and is controlled by the pilot to taxi the airplane from the airport’s jet bridge (“sleeve”) to the runway with no use of the aircraft main engines. Hauling the aircraft by the TaxiBot saves 85% of the fuel consumed during standard taxi and provides a similar reduction of 85% of the greenhouse gases emitted by the aircraft's main engines. Taxiing with the TaxiBot reduces noise levels by 60% and foreign object damage by 50%, as foreign objects can’t be sucked into the aircraft engines if they are not running. An additional benefit is the streamlining and increased throughput of aircraft entering and exiting the terminal area.
The Indian government regards the TaxiBot as a significant means for addressing the grave air pollution at airports, which is worsening because of the continued growth of air transportation. The final tests of the vehicles designated for New Delhi Airport are being completed now at Frankfurt airport with the support of Lufthansa LEOS and TLD, as part of the ongoing productive collaboration with IAI from the beginning of the project.
IAI EVP and General Manager of IAI's Military Aircraft Group Shaul Shahar said, "We regard the contract with KSU as a further step in our close collaboration with India in a broad range of areas. We trust the TaxiBot will prove itself effective in reducing air pollution, which is intensifying due to the fast growth of India’s aviation market, with the significant savings in fuel, foreign object damage, and improvement in the gates congestion. The TaxiBot is another example of IAI’s capability in developing unmanned vehicles of all kinds and customizing breakthrough products to customers’ needs. We believe this agreement will open the path for many more significant contracts for this product worldwide."
TLD Group CEO Antoine Maguin said, "After years of development, heavy testing and certification, for which TLD has worked in cooperation with IAI, the TaxiBot concept and machines have become a reality. It will bring significant benefits to the aviation industry, and in particular strong fuel savings, and to the whole community by improving aviation and airports environmental footprint".
KSU Aviation Private Limited founder Yogesh Sethi said, "KSU Aviation Private Limited is excited to be associated with TaxiBot Project and proud to commence commercial operations of the Taxibot first time in the world in India. This will be a huge moment of pride and glory for Indian aviation as well as KSU aviation to lead by example how aircrafts will be moved on ground in the future. The use of TaxiBot at Indian Airports in the coming five years will bring about a saving of 1.5 billion dollars to the Indian airlines and further reduce the environmental damage of greenhouse gases by four million tons."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 12, 2018
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