The aviation sector is getting serious about cost savings. Last year, SpiceJet operated the country's first test flight powered by bio-jet fuel, which was followed by fuel saving initiatives of Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet this year. Now, Turkish ground handling firm Celebi Aviation has commercially deployed taxibots at the Delhi airport after testing them on narrow-body aircraft (Airbus A320 and Boeing 737) since early this year.
Taxibots are used to tow aircraft from gates to the runway, and saves up to 200 kilogram of aviation fuel (ATF). ATF constitutes 30-40 per cent of an airline's costs, and fuel savings through such measures improve the bottom line.
Taxibots, which are controlled by pilots in the cockpit, typically make more sense at large airports such as Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, where the taxiing time is higher at over 15 minutes per flight.