Boeing testing new digital solutions to support more sustainable airline flight deck operations

New taxiing solutions could reduce ground time, cost and fuel consumption for airlines

Boeing is testing several technologies aimed at improving operational efficiency, including a capability that can improve situational awareness for pilots during airplane taxiing.

Every time the 2022 Boeing ecoDemonstrator, a Boeing-owned 777-200ER (Extended Range), taxis to the runway this summer, pilots will have several new flight deck technologies to test that could help airlines increase operational efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.

Boeing’s flying testbed is testing out two new digital capabilities – Taxi Time Information and Taxi Clearance – which are designed to help airlines reduce turnaround times on the ground and eliminate delays to use fuel more efficiently.

“Our digital solutions deliver on our commitments and support Boeing’s sustainability goals and those of our customers and our industry, including to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Thorsten Wiesemann, director, Smart Data Services, Boeing Global Services. “Our flight deck capabilities on board the ecoDemonstrator this year include technologies aimed at improving efficiency and pilot situational awareness during airplane taxiing, which could in turn reduce fuel consumption.”

Airlines typically spend up to 25% of their operating budget on fuel alone. The Digital Aviation Solutions team at Boeing Global Services has a suite of fuel efficiency solutions available to customers today and is also working to develop tools that can help operators reduce this cost and alleviate environmental impacts.

For example, the new Taxi Time Information capability being tested provides flight crews with a better way to anticipate their inbound or outbound clearance and taxi times, using real-time data. Pilots use the information to estimate the taxi time needed to travel between their parking stand and their assigned runway. This information is based on averages compiled from the current day, or even the current hour, to plan their gate maneuvers.

“Looking at sustainability through the operational efficiency lens, we are helping customers realize cost, time and fuel savings,” said Marco Gärtner, senior product manager, Smart Data Services, Boeing Global Services. “Taxi Time Information could provide pilots the ability to better manage slot and pushback requests, with a greater understanding of the prevailing taxi situation. This would support single-engine taxi operations, and as a result would reduce fuel consumption on the ground.”

The new capabilities being tested build on the Boeing foundation of helping customers plan the most efficient route, optimize flight planning and provide real-time weather and traffic information to pilots. Combined, these tools help lower fuel consumption and minimize the carbon footprint of airplanes in service.

The Boeing 2022 ecoDemonstrator will test 30 technologies to enhance safety and sustainability. Shown here, an image of the airplane – a Boeing-owned 777-200 ER (Extended Range).

Since its initial flights in 2012, the Boeing ecoDemonstrator program has accelerated innovation by taking new technologies out of the lab and testing them in an operational environment. Including this year’s platform, the program has tested about 230 technologies to help decarbonize aviation, improve operational efficiency and enhance safety and the passenger experience. Approximately a third of tested technologies have progressed onto Boeing’s products and services. The 2022 Boeing ecoDemonstrator is on display at the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wisc., with public tours available.

More information about the 2022 ecoDemonstrator and previous ecoDemonstrator airplanes is available at boeing.com/ecoDemonstrator. Boeing’s sustainability commitments, partnerships and efforts are available at www.boeing.com/principles/sustainability.

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