Amsterdam Schiphol’s Genius Idea To Reduce Aircraft Emissions

In its pursuit to become the world’s most sustainable airport, Amsterdam Schiphol is trying out a new way…

Amsterdam Schiphol’s Genius Idea To Reduce Aircraft Emissions

In its pursuit to become the world’s most sustainable airport, Amsterdam Schiphol is trying out a new way for aircraft to taxi to the runway. Over the next few months, the airport will use a hybrid vehicle with fewer emissions in place of a traditional pushback tug. Officials at Schiphol believe that this new strategy will slash fuel consumption from taxiing by up to 85%.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is testing out a taxibot to reduce fuel consumption. Photo: Schiphol Airport

Reducing emissions on the ground

While the climate crisis is a complex issue to solve, its saving grace is that there are many angles at which it can be tackled. There is a plethora of initiatives taking place today that allow airlines and their airports to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions they produce. One of the most successful ways is to invest in new technology that reduces energy consumption on the ground.

Over the coming months, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport will be making some changes to improve its sustainability. On 23rd April, the airport shared the news that it will be trialing a new hybrid vehicle to take aircraft to and from the runway. The new tug, which uses a mixture of electric and diesel, is expected to save 95% on fuel consumption in comparison to a standard tow vehicle.

Between now and June 2020, Schiphol will monitor fuel savings from this new technology. It will then be able to ascertain whether the so-called ‘taxibot’ is a scalable and efficient way of driving down CO2 emissions.

While the results of this initial test are currently untold, officials at Schiphol hold out hope that this is an effective sustainability solution that the airport can implement. Speaking in a statement, the Head of Innovation at the Royal Schiphol Group Hassan Charaf said:

“This study aligns with our ambition to be the world’s most sustainable airport. We are continuing with this important test despite the situation that the corona crisis has caused. This unique vehicle will be at our disposal until at least June. I am proud that Schiphol and its partners are investigating what sustainable taxiing at Schiphol can mean.”

How will the test work?

Before the use of the taxibot can become a regular practice at Schiphol, there are a series of tests that need to be carried out. At the moment, the Royal Schiphol Group has outlined two testing phases with aircraft.

737 Corendon Airlines aircraft
Schiphol is already working on the first phase of the test. Photo: Schiphol Airport

The first will be carried out with an empty Corendon Dutch Airlines 737 aircraft. The plane will be towed by the hybrid vehicle to multiple runways to measure efficiency and sustainability. If the Royal Schiphol Group is happy with the findings, the taxibot will progress to the next stage of testing.

At this next stage, Schiphol will carry out the same trial only this time with an operational aircraft. It has so far named three carriers that might take part in that next stage of testing. These are KLM, easyJet, and Transavia.

Staff will continue to research this new method of taxiing after the vehicle has been returned to its lessors, Smart Airport Systems. By fall 2020, the airport will have a clear understanding as to whether this new method of taxiing is feasible.

Will this strategy be a success?

This method of taxiing aircraft will likely prove to be far superior to current practices. That’s because it will save such a significant amount of fuel. The fuel consumption saving comes from the fact that during taxi, aircraft will be able to keep their engines switched off until they reach the runway. While it may not seem like this would have much of an impact, it does.

Taxibot
Is Schiphol sure that the new technology will be a success? Photo: Schiphol Airport

According to Schiphol, it takes 14 minutes for an aircraft to taxi to the runway. That’s 14 minutes of fuel consumed and harmful emissions produced, plus the time it takes to warm up the engine. On the way back, it will take around nine minutes for an arriving aircraft to reach the gate. All in all, that’s a saving of over 23 minutes of fuel burn time saved per aircraft on every single flight.

That said, despite the apparent merits of this technology, it could be a while before all aircraft taxiing is adopted in this way. The vehicle that Schiphol will lease from Smart Airport Systems is just one of ten in the world. Therefore, if Schiphol wants to employ this technology, it may have to wait.

Are taxibots the way forward? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Coronavirus Has Hit These African Aviation Markets The Hardest

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has today released a press brief, in which it has mentioned the…

Coronavirus Has Hit These African Aviation Markets The Hardest

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has today released a press brief, in which it has mentioned the importance of relief funds to help the struggling African aviation sector. The statistical report provides an insight into the massive losses airlines of African countries are taking due to the spread of coronavirus and ongoing travel restrictions.

South Africa is expected to see the biggest impact on its passenger demand. Almost 15 million fewer passengers are expected over the next three months. Photo: Airbus

Assessing the current circumstances, IATA has made an estimation of the African aviation industry based on travel restrictions and passenger demand. It has clearly stated that “These estimates are based on a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, with a gradual lifting of restrictions in domestic markets, followed by regional and intercontinental.

A summary of results is as follows:

  • African airlines are expected to suffer a cumulative loss of $6 billion in passenger revenue in 2020 when compared to 2019 numbers.
  • Job losses in aviation and related industries could grow to 3.1 million. This is 50% of the region’s total aviation-related workforce.
  • Full-year 2020 traffic is expected to plummet by 51% compared to 2019.
  • GDP supported by aviation in the region could fall by $28 billion from the current $56 billion

The worst-hit countries

The ten worst-hit countries, ranked by decline in the number of passengers, are:

  1. South Africa: 14.5 million
  2. Nigeria: 4.7 million
  3. Mauritius: 3.5 million
  4. Kenya: 3.5 million
  5. Ghana: 2.8 million
  6. Senegal: 2.6 million
  7. Ethiopia: 2.5 million
  8. Cape Verde: 2.2 million
  9. Tanzania: 1.5 million
  10. Mozambique: 1.4 million
The most affected aviation markets in Africa mapped out. Photo: Simple Flying

In recent days, we have seen African airlines requesting financial support from their respective governments to help survive the brunt of coronavirus impact. However, many of the airlines have not been successful in doing so and are awaiting a very uncertain future.

Air Mauritius had yesterday decided to enter a voluntary administration. South African Airways has said that it will lay off all of its staff by the end of April. We are expecting to see a similar trend in the coming days, unless various governments intervene. As a result of this, IATA has made an honest plea to the governments of African countries. It emphasized the fact that the collapse of the airline industry will have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on the economy.

More airlines will follow if urgent financial relief is not provided. The economic damage of a crippled industry extends far beyond the sector itself.  Aviation in Africa supports 6.2 million jobs and $56 billion in GDP. Sector failure is not an option, more governments need to step up.

Looking ahead

In positive developments, some African countries have, in the past few weeks, made amendments to support the aviation industry. For example, Senegal has announced a US$128 million in relief for the Tourism and Air Transport sector. Additionally, Seychelles and Cote d’Ivoire have waived specific airport and transit taxes.

A330-900 Air Senegal take off
Hopefully, African carriers like Air Senegal will be able to get through all that’s going on. Photo: Airbus

In addition to vital financial relief, the industry will also require careful planning and coordination to ensure that airlines are ready when the pandemic is contained. This will take a lot of effort and analysis, which includes prioritizing the lifting of travel restrictions and recovering passenger confidence. IATA has advised African countries to have a cooperative and harmonized approach to battle the impact of coronavirus.

Do you agree with this analysis? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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