2014 Tarmac Delays Lowest on Record —
In calendar year 2014, airlines reported the lowest number of tarmac delays longer than three hours since the US Department of Transportation started tracking tarmac delays.
According to the DOT’s Air Travel Consumer Report, in 2014 US airports saw 30 with tarmac delays longer than four hours. By contrast, in 2009, the last full year before the Department’s domestic tarmac rule went into effect, airlines reported 868 domestic
For the month of December 2014, there were no long domestic or international tarmac delays reported at US airports.
TaxiBot, a towbar-less 800hp hybrid electric aircraft tractor, is now operational at Frankfurt Airport. The new tool allows the pilot to control the TaxiBot for towing the aircraft between the gate and the runway with the aircraft’s engines turned off.
The TaxiBot is part of the “E-PORT AN” project at Frankfurt Airport. Partners of the initiative include the state of Hesse, Fraport AG, the Lufthansa Group and the RhineMain model region.
“With innovations like the TaxiBot, we are not only helping to conserve fuel but are also making an important contribution towards reducing noise and exhaust emissions at airports,” says Kay Kratky, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board – Operations & Hub Frankfurt.
are able to fly closer together, but also more direct routings, faster descents, enhanced safety and hundreds of dollars in savings per flight.
A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration says:“By 2020, if you want to fly in controlled airspace in the US, you’ll need to have the avionics on board that allow your plane to broadcast its position via satellite. The government funding estimate to the year 2025 is $15 to $22 billion. On the airline side, for the avionics, it’s $14 to 20 billion.”
Dave Curtis, head of stakeholder and regulatory affairs at NATS, says similar technology is being looked at in Europe. “The current route that an aircraft is required to fly is between two groundbased aids 100 miles part – the plane aims for the second one and flies towards it. Performance based [satellite] navigation is more accurate by a magnitude of about ten. Coming into Heathrow, hopefully you won’t experience any holding, and arrive at a specific time and place,”he explains.
“If you can streamline the routes, make them more efficient and reduce the workload on the controller, ultimately you can put more aircraft in the system and give the customer more choice.”
Birds of a Feather
In the more distant future, Airbus suggests another way of fitting more planes in the sky – flocking together and flying in formation along“express skyways.” Its website reads:“In nature, large birds sometimes fly together to save energy and travel further. When flying in formation, the leading bird’s wings generate whirling masses of air. The following bird benefits from this air current to get some free extra lift, which means it needs to use less energy to fly.
“Aircraft wings create the same effect, which we call‘trailing vortexes.’Military pilots often use the same formation flying techniques to reduce the amount of energy – fuel burn – that they use.”
OAG’s Grant compares the technology with that being tested by Google in its selfdriving cars.“They’ve got quite a few in San Francisco, but they’re not allowed to take them on the roads publicly. However, it’s estimated that they will improve capacity