Here’s How Airlines Can Benefit from Shorter Taxi Times

By Jean Luc Devisscher
11th January, 2022

With continued losses due to COVID-19 and kerosene prices skyrocketing, airlines and airports are looking for ways to substantially reduce energy wastage. At the same time, aviation stakeholders are trying to reduce noise and air pollution.

There are many solutions to ensure that airplanes do not lose time once they have landed. These solutions often focus on getting aircraft to their designated gates using the shortest route. However, there is much more that needs to happen after a plane lands and while it is being prepared for departure.

The process described above requires a lot of streamlining at the airport but is only part of the equation. All aviation stakeholders need to be aligned, helping them focus on better collaboration. For example, when a plane arrives at the gate, ground handling services should be ready to unload & prepare the aircraft for the next flight.

The biggest problem, however, lies in the fact that airports often do not have a unified view on operations to recognize where time and resources are being lost. Airport stakeholders have their own data & siloed systems. This means that airlines, airports, ground handlers and all other stakeholders stick to their own objectives and evaluate their own performance. Their data is often never shared (with other stakeholders) which means that airports have a ton of useful data available but are not using it.

In the meantime, airlines take their own measures to understand where they can substantially save time and fuel. They focus on efficiency improvement to facilitate the achievement of shorter taxi times to the gate and the runway. This method works well in an environment where airlines control the full process: they own the gates & terminals and manage their own ground handling (as is the case in the US). However, this does not work in an environment where more stakeholders need to be considered.

To create more efficiency, stakeholders need to share data and have common processes in place. They need to have a designated official overseeing operations. They also need to share relevant data and data inputs in a timely manner to create full visibility on airport operations.

Airlines are one of the key stakeholders in aviation. They need to save fuel, make sure that they stick to their schedule and keep passengers happy. It is imperative that all stakeholders coordinate with them towards ensuring that passengers can leave and board the plane at the communicated times.

One tiny issue can impact the full process. Some luggage might be missing or meals might not be delivered on time. In addition to that, a fuel truck might be delayed or a passenger boarding bridge may not be ready when the plane lands.

There are many data points and stakeholders. It is thus no surprise that, similar to Formula One squads, airport operation teams need to work like a well-oiled machine that gets the plane ready for take-off in a short time. In some cases, it is the airline taking the necessary steps to help the airport better manage its processes. In most cases, however, the airport is in the driving seat and needs to introduce a common process that stakeholders can comply with.

The benefits of a unified operational view are clear for every stakeholder. With traffic on the rebound, stakeholders have a unique opportunity to do more within the given setup. Airports can handle more planes using the existing infrastructure, ground handlers can safeguard their margins and airlines can substantially save on fuel costs.

By helping aviation stakeholders revisit what data they have and how that data can be used to reduce taxi time, EMMA creates new forms of efficiency. However, before this can happen, we need to identify the processes that align all stakeholders. Our end goal should involve making passengers happy and ensuring the best utilization of resources.

Want to understand what EMMA can do to help your airport or airline? Contact us here.