New Delhi: Air India on Tuesday made history as it became the first airline in the world to use a Taxibot on a A320 aircraft with passengers onboard.


The national carrier’s Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani flagged off flight AI665 which was carried to the runway using Taxibot at terminal 3 of the Delhi airport to Mumbai.


On the occasion, he said, ”The use of Taxibot on the Air India aircraft at Indira Gandhi International Airport today morning is the first such usage on any Airbus aircraft worldwide. Really an achievement to be proud of. A giant step forward towards a cleaner environment.”

So, what is a Taxibot and how is it useful?

Taxibot is a robot-used aircraft tractor for taxiing an aircraft from parking bay to runway and vice versa.

Simply put, taxibot makes it possible to tow an aircraft from the parking bay to the runway with its engines switched off. TaxiBot is connected to the nose wheel of the aircraft and enables the pilot to move the plane to the runway without switching on the plane’s engines. This will help save 85 per cent of the fuel, the plane would normally use at that time.

“Taxibot saves precious fuel and reduces engine wear and tear. The ignition will be turned only when the aircraft reaches the runway”, explained an Air India spokesperson.

Further, Taxibot is expected to help cut down on CO2 emissions – up to 800 kilograms are emitted for every 15 minutes. Noise pollution levels are also expected to drop by as much as 60 per cent.

Taxibots will also help in decongesting boarding gates and the apron area by providing efficient pushbacks.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has designed the TaxiBots and have been manufactured by France’s TLD, which is into making ground support equipment. KSU Aviation is providing the Taxibots to airlines in the country. A total of 40 Taxibots will be deployed at airports across the county.