European regulators have certificated Israel Aerospace Industries’ pilot-controlled aircraft tow tractor TaxiBot for deployment on Airbus A320-family jets.
IAI says the approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency spans the entire range of A320ceo and -neo models, and that the certificate is valid for aircraft under the US Federal Aviation Administration’s jurisdiction too.
The semi-robotic vehicle – which has been developed in partnership with French tow tractor manufacturer TLD – is already certificated for Boeing 737s.
Lufthansa trialled the tractor for commercial 737 flights at its Frankfurt hub from late 2014 until the airline retired the twinjet from its fleet last year. But no other customers have been disclosed for TaxiBot yet.
IAI executive vice-president and general manager of the group’s military aircraft division Shaul Shahar states: “Even with the current low fuel price, the saving for airlines [that use TaxiBot] accumulate to millions of dollars per year.”