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120000 gallons of fuel per flight? Thats alot and got to amount to a couple of millions saved per year.Cant understand why this havent been done earlier in the airplane business. "Saving money and getting good environmental PR at the same time? Bah humbug..."

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Not per flight... 120,000 gallons per year was the figure quoted in the article...Virgin Atlantic's fleet comprises 34 aircraft: 13 747-400s, 6 A340-300s and 15 A340-600s. The trial would involve the 747-400s initially.The 120,000 gallon figure accounts for just over 2 loads of fuel to completely fill a 747-400's tanks. It is a saving of fuel, correct, but is minimal in comparison with the total annual fuel burn. Advances in engine efficiency and aerodynamics is the way forward, and phasing out (or at least re-engining) the massively inefficient older fleet aircraft, all those 737-200s and the like... ;-)I would be more interested in the method of towing. Okay, the fully loaded plane is pushed back from a terminal gate, but that is only a 100m or so, max 200m. I wonder if the gear, and the nose gear in particular is designed for longer distance towing operations at MTOW or the weights experienced for intercontinental flights (fuel, cargo, and most importantly, passengers)... Let's face it, even if the terminal is midfield, like LHR, that is still a good 1.5 to 2km from the end of the runway. In LGW, the Virgin Atlantic fleet would have to be towed the entire taxiway for a takeoff to the East (okay, not that common, I know...)Then, there is the other aspect of engine parameter and safety checks. I am sure these are monitored all throughout the taxi phase. It sounds like "kicking the tires and lighting the fires"!Anyway, thanks for the link, interesting article! And of course, if all airlines were to play ball, this would constitute a large saving in fuel in real terms, I am just a little concerned about some of the other things I mentioned above...Andrew

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