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"Jets towed in UK airport green tests"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Jets towed in airport green tests  
United Kingdom - The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Passenger planes are to be towed to runways with their main engines off,
reducing their environmental impact, in a trial at two UK airports. 

The short trials involve Virgin Atlantic passenger jets at London's Gatwick
and Heathrow airports. 

Gatwick hopes to be the first airport to implement the system, which it is
claimed could save two tonnes of fuel per plane. 

Environmentalists complain that is only 3% of fuel for a transatlantic

They also say towing all aircraft would be unworkable at busy airports. 

BBC Transport Correspondent Tom Symonds says aircraft engines are at their
least efficient on the ground. 

The trial involves towing the planes from the departure gates to a so-called
starting grid next to the runway, where their engines are fired up, he said.

Virgin Atlantic claims its planes use up to 1.5 tonnes of fuel just getting
to the runway. Another half a tonne could be saved at the other end of the

The airline says a number of American hubs are also interested in starting
their own trials. 

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced air duty increases as an environmental
measure as part of his 10th pre-Budget report last week. 

Attached Photo:

Virgin Atlantic is involved in the tests at two UK airports.


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