Aircraft taxiing along with their engines shut down: Safran believes this is a winner!
Safran is currently working on an electric taxiing program to be directly incorporated into the next generation of short and medium haul aircraft.
Although all-electric aircraft will not be taking to the skies in the immediate future, we will be able, from the next generation of single-aisles - to taxi them across the tarmac powered by electricity. This is the goal of the R&T work carried out on electric taxiing by Safran Landing Systems.
Safran is confident of the relevance of this eco-friendly solution which combines operational savings (a reduction of around 4% in fuel costs), autonomy of the aircraft on the ground (increase in on-time takeoffs) and environmental benefits (reduction in polluting emissions and noise).
The idea is a simple one: instead of using its main engines for taxiing on airport taxiways, burning fuel unnecessarily, the aircraft will use small onboard electric motors to drive the wheels. Thereby saving about 4% in fuel and greatly reducing carbon emissions (CO2, NOx, CO, etc.).
According to studies conducted in 2018-2019 by Safran among a panel of airlines, this solution makes a lot of sense in busy airports where taxiing operations can sometimes take over 30 minutes, and for airlines which make several daily shuttle trips. They could thus save several hundreds of thousands of dollars per aircraft per year and, at the same time, reduce the environmental impact of their ground operations.
Watch this space!
Reduced fuel consumption
The electric taxiing system can lead to savings of as much as 4% of the total fuel budget, or several hundreds of thousands of dollars per aircraft per year.
Autonomy & improved punctuality
With the electric taxiing system, an aircraft would be more autonomous and able to reverse and depart its stand more quickly, without relying on ground services and infrastructure. This solution would help improve traffic flows on the apron and at gates, improve flight punctuality and gain precious minutes on the ground, thereby contributing to maximizing the capacity of airports.
Optimized weight for maximized savings
The installation of the electric taxiing system will of course create an additional weight (of about 400kg) but this will be easily offset by significant savings of aviation fuel. These can be as much as 4% of fuel consumption per flight and per aircraft, without counting the savings from not having to use towing tractors.