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European Union’s joint undertaking “Follow the Greens” successfully simulated at Frankfurt Airport

Shorter taxiing times, less use of kerosene and fewer emissions thanks to Automated Taxiway Guidance System.

FRANKFURT – “Follow the Greens” – it is under this title that simulations are being performed currently at Frankfurt Airport. The objective is to speed up the taxiing procedure of aircraft to and from the runway system, making the process more efficient. Currently, the cockpit crew is directed by radio to the assigned taxi route by the apron controllers. In future, the taxiway lighting system will be used to direct the crew and therefore the aircraft. Each segment of taxiway needed is switched on. All areas not needed, are switched off. This makes the guidance of aircraft safer, as errors are hereby minimized. The guidance system is computer controlled. This is a modification of the system already in place.

Airplanes as a rule taxi using the thrust of their engines. The fuel consumption during this procedure is generally determined by the distance travelled. With the current radio system, aircraft are put on hold, at traffic crossings. They then accelerate and continue to or from the runway system, increasing the fuel consumption.  With the use of intelligent guidance procedures such as “Follow the Greens”, an uninterrupted traffic flow and thus decreased taxiing time and fuel consumption is achieved. This in turn reduces the environmental impact and at the same time saves costs.

These are the preliminary results of a validation exercise which was performed at Frankfurt Airport between June 24 and 28.  In total, 20 pilots from different airlines participated in the simulations. “The testing week in the simulators was extremely successful and the pilots that took part gave very positive feedback. We are proud that we are able to implement this significant validation exercise here at Frankfurt Airport, because it allows us to address the requirements of its complex runway system in a purposeful manner,” said Dr. Rolf Felkel, Senior Executive Manager Airside, Terminal and Security Applications at Fraport AG.

Also Dr. Roland Krieg, Senior Executive Vice President of Fraport AG’s Information and Telecommunications unit, emphasized the potential of this technology: “In these times of growing mobility requirements, ‘Follow the Greens’ can greatly contribute to making European airports more competitive in the global comparison. This is the reason why we need innovative approaches such as ‘Follow the Greens’. Not least of all, passengers will benefit from shorter taxiing times and periods spent on the ground.”

The conclusion of the testing week is currently followed by a detailed evaluation of the data collected. Further simulations are to take place subsequently in order to develop Europe-wide standards jointly with the airports in London Heathrow, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, and Munich.

The validation of the new procedures was carried out as part of the research project “Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research” (SESAR), a program aimed at modernizing and harmonizing European air traffic.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.