The impact of single engine taxiing on aircraft fuel consumption and pollutant emissions

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Optimisation of aircraft ground operations to reduce airport emissions can reduce resultant local air quality impacts. Single engine taxiing (SET), where only half of the installed number of engines are used for the majority of the taxi duration, offers the opportunity to reduce fuel consumption, and emissions of NOX, CO and HC. Using 3510 flight data records, this paper develops a model for SET operations and presents a case study of London Heathrow, where we show that SET is regularly implemented during taxi-in. The model predicts fuel consumption and pollutant emissions with greater accuracy than previous studies that used simplistic assumptions. Without SET during taxi-in, fuel consumption and pollutant emissions would increase by up to 50%. Reducing the time before SET is initiated to the 25th percentile of recorded values would reduce fuel consumption and pollutant emissions by 7–14%, respectively, relative to current operations. Future research should investigate the practicalities of reducing the time before SET initialisation so that additional benefits of reduced fuel loadings, which would decrease fuel consumption across the whole flight, can be achieved.

The Aeronautical Journal
Simon Hu
Assistant Professor