At this year’s Airshow China, Safran Landing Systems, the Civil Aviation University of China (CAUC) and the French national civil aviation school ENAC (Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to study the potential of electric taxiing systems in major international airports. The signing ceremony was held today, attended by Jean-Paul Alary, Chief Executive Officer of Safran Landing Systems, Jing Yihong, Secretary General of CAUC, Dong Jiankang, President of CAUC and Bai Jie, Vice President of CAUC.

Safran Landing Systems and Airbus are currently developing an electric taxiing solution*, which will allow jetliners to taxi autonomously, without using their jet engines or needing a tractor for pushback. With this system, airlines can save up to 4% on fuel and cut in half their emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases (NOx, hydrocarbons, etc.). This solution would be especially advantageous in very busy airports, where taxiing operations may take up to 40 minutes.

For Safran Landing Systems, this partnership will enable the company to call on the expertise of CAUC and ENAC, in order to simulate taxiing operations at certain targeted airports. The Civil Aviation University of China will study Asian airports, while ENAC will focus on European counterparts. The two schools will share their methods and analyses so that Safran Landing Systems can enhance the system being developed, in terms of different airport configurations. This study extends the close partnership already established by the two schools for the creation of a joint laboratory tasked with enhancing the current air transport system.

“We are very pleased to have signed this partnership with two world-class aviation schools,” said Jean-Paul Alary, CEO of Safran Landing Systems. “It will guarantee the complete success of a program that promises major improvements for both airports and airlines. Through this alliance, we will be able to assess case by case the additional value brought by our electrical taxiing solution based on each airport and airline profile.”

  • How electric taxiing operates: instead of using its jet engines to taxi around airports, uselessly burning up fuel, the aircraft will taxi by using electric motors installed in the wheels on the landing gear. The electrical power for these motors comes from the plane’s auxiliary power unit (APU).