The Dutch aviation sector has unveiled plans to cut fuel consumption during taxiing at Schiphol Airport.

The roadmap, which was presented to Barbara Visser, minister of infrastructure and water management, aims to make sustainable taxiing standard procedure at Schiphol by 2030.

The first step will be the deployment of two special aircraft towing vehicles, TaxiBots, for a follow-up pilot study at Schiphol in mid-2022. If successful, the pilot will transition to a standard procedure, with aircraft taxiing sustainably to and from the Polderbaan runway. This is part of a European initiative – the Albatross project – aimed at developing and demonstrating more sustainable flight operations for whole gate to gate scenarios, applying multiple strategies and solutions to save fuel at each stage of a flight.

During the sustainable taxiing process, aircraft are taken to and from the runway by the semi-robotic taxiing system and the plane's engines remain turned off for a longer period of time. Radical modifications to infrastructure, processes and technology are required for this new way of taxiing, according to the organisations behind the roadmap.

Changes to be implemented before the follow-up pilot begins include alterations to the markings on the asphalt that ensure aircraft stop in the right place so that they can be disconnected from the towing vehicle. Roads also need to be widened to enable the special vehicles to drive to and from the Polderbaan runway before and after taxiing without disrupting taxiing traffic.

Previous studies have shown that sustainable taxiing at Schiphol uses 50% less fuel and reduces CO2, nitrogen and ultra fine particulate matter. These fuel savings can reach up to 65% when taxiing to and from the Polderbaan runway due to the distances involved.

Schiphol drafted the roadmap together with Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL), KLM, Transavia, Corendon Dutch Airlines and ground handling agents dnata and KLM Ground Services.