Air India on Tuesday said that it has created a global record by becoming the first airline in the world to use a TaxiBot on a Airbus A320 aircraft operating a commercial flight with passengers onboard.
A TaxiBot or taxiing Robot is a pilot controlled semi-robotic towbar-less aircraft tractor used as an alternate taxiing equipment.
The flight AI 665, operating from Delhi to Mumbai, was flagged off by Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani at Terminal 3 on Tuesday.
A TaxiBot helps in towing an aircraft from parking bays to the runway with engines switched off thus, save fuel and reduce engine wear and tear. The ignition is turned on only when the aircraft reaches the runway.
"The usage of TaxiBots will significantly bring down the consumption of fuel by as much as 85 percent used during taxiing of aircraft. The TaxiBots would also help in decongesting boarding gates and apron area by providing efficient pushbacks," Air India said.
"This way, Air India will take a giant step towards curbing carbon emission, which will result in improving air quality," the airline said in a statement.
The airline will use TaxiBots for departing flights only.
The initiative was led by the airline's director operations Captain Amitabh Singh, whose team also helped the airline become the first Indian carrier to chart the polar route to San Francisco which led to savings in flying time, fuel consumption and curbing carbon footprint.