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Taxiing the way to lower emissions

Heathrow airfield at night

Sustainability case  study

When most people think about aviation pollution, they think about emissions in the sky. But we’ve been looking beyond that to find ways to save fuel – and reduce emissions – on the ground too.

Through a unique study commissioned by British Midland International (bmi) and Heathrow, we’ve worked out just how much nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can be reduced by using less engine power during taxi.

By pioneering the new procedure, using just one engine to taxi to and from our runways, bmi have shown that both climate change and local air quality benefits can be achieved without disrupting passengers’ comfort.

While the improvements varied depending on the aircraft type, emissions of NOx dropped by 16% to 35% per taxi in and 7% to 34% per taxi out. There was also less CO2 – 19% to 36% per taxi in and 7% to 35% per taxi out.   That means that, based on a 12 month period, bmi’s fleet at Heathrow would have delivered an impressive saving of 8.7 tonnes of NOx and 2.2 tonnes of CO2.

So the results have been very encouraging. And while bmi will continue to implement the procedure on a wider basis to save on emissions, Heathrow will explore opportunities to extend the procedure across the airport to make our runways that bit cleaner – and greener.

Sustainability awards

Sustainability BITC pink planters