article

Sustainable taxiing at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol explores a European aviation first, with the deployment of sustainable Taxibots to continue the airports journey towards the reduction of aircraft and flight emissions. Wilma van Dijk, Director Safety, Security & Environment at Schiphol Group, explains more.

Taxiing a plane to the Polderbaan Runway (18R / 36L) at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) will soon be significantly more sustainable. In 2022, Schiphol is buying two TaxiBots, which can be used to tow specific types of aircraft to and from the runway, allowing pilots to keep engines switched off for most of the taxiing time. This will lead to a significant reduction in emissions of (ultra)fine particles, nitrogen, and CO2.

2022 is a crucial year for sustainability in the aviation sector, as we plan to accelerate and fast-track measures to reduce emissions and improve local air quality for the climate, our employees, and local residents. This way, you will still be able to fly and discover the world, but in a responsible and sustainable way – a way in which we do not place extra pressure on our planet, but add value to it instead. One example of how we plan to achieve this is, is by implementing sustainable taxiing.

Taxiing with fewer emissions

The TaxiBot is a special towing vehicle that takes a plane from the gate to the runway, or from the runway to the gate. It’s different from other towing vehicles, as the TaxiBot can taxi a fully loaded aircraft at close to normal taxiing speeds. During taxiing, the TaxiBot is controlled by the aircraft pilot – not the truck driver in the vehicle itself. The driver only connects the TaxiBot to the aircraft and carries out the pushback (the process of pushing the plane backwards from the gate). The pilot takes control as soon as the taxiing procedure starts.

2022 is a crucial year for sustainability in the aviation sector, as we plan to accelerate and fast-track measures to reduce emissions and improve local air quality”

Furthermore, pilots do not need to run aircraft engines while taxiing with the TaxiBot, as it tows the plane itself. That means the engines can remain switched off for longer, which saves fuel and in turn leads to fewer CO2, NOx, and (ultra)fine particle emissions. The TaxiBot produces significantly fewer emissions than an aircraft engine. An earlier pilot study at Schiphol showed that around 50 per cent less fuel is needed for sustainable taxiing. And, when it comes to taxiing to the Polderbaan runway – our most distant (and preferred) runway, fuel savings can reach up to 65 per cent.

Send this to a friend