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AMSTERDAM: Schiphol airport is buying two TaxiBots this year, a semi-robotic hybrid towing vehicle designed for towing airplanes from a boarding gate to a takeoff runway without the use of jet engine power.

Supplied by Smart Aviation Systems, the dispatch vehicle can reduce airline engine fuel consumption and resultant CO2 emissions 85 percent, cut noise pollution 60 percent, and enable aircraft to avoid foreign object debris (FOD) by 50 percent.

Results from an earlier trial at Schiphol saw a 50 percent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2, nitrogen and ultrafine particle emissions during taxiing to and from the airport's five main runways, and up to 65 percent percent to the Polderbaan – a sixth runway some five kilometres and 15 minutes taxiing time from the passenger terminal.

Together with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands, KLM, Transavia, Corendon Dutch Airlines and ground handlers dnata and KLM Ground Services, the airport has now developed a master plan to ensure Taxibot taxiing will become a standard procedure at Schiphol.

The project is part of the EU-funded ALBATROSS project – aimed at developing and demonstrating more sustainable flight operations gate-to-gate in order to save fuel and emissions for each stage of a flight.

“2022 is a crucial year for sustainability in the aviation sector,” commented Royal Schiphol Group CEO Dick Benschop. “We are accelerating measures to reduce emissions and improve local air quality. That's important for the climate, our employees and local residents. We're Europeans first and one of the few airports worldwide working on implementing sustainable taxiing on a large scale.”

Schiphol's next step will be a Taxibot trial to and from the Polderbaan that will also include ground handlers Swissport, Viggo and airline group TUI.
 
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