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NEWS Last modified on February 19, 2013

Environment: “Crocodiles” to be introduced to reduce New Zealand airport’s carbon footprint

A new energy saving “crocodile” unit – which helps airlines save fuel on the tarmac – is being trialled at Auckland Airport.

A new energy saving “crocodile” unit – which helps airlines save fuel on the tarmac – is being trialled at Auckland Airport.

The gateway has introduced a new improved ground power unit (GPU) – costing €160,000 – and will use it with Air New Zealand over a six to eight week period.

GPUs enable aircraft to plug in and power themselves using electricity, instead of using their auxiliary power unit that would burn jet fuel.

Power units have been in place at Auckland for some time now, but utilisation rates have been low due to ground handling staff having to drag heavy cables to the aircraft.

The new crocodile unit improves the manoeuvrability of the long cables and minimizes the risk of injury.

It is hoped the new units will reduce the carbon footprint of the airport and if the trial is successful, the crocodile will be rolled out across all international gates. 

Martin Fryer, Auckland Airport’s sustainability and environmental manager, said: “Auckland Airport recently reviewed its sustainability plan and realised that many targets can only be achieved through cooperation with like-minded businesses.

“This project is a superb example of how we can achieve our long-term goals of reducing energy, water and waste per passenger by 20% by 2020.”

Air New Zealand safety officer, David Morgan, added: “It is Air New Zealand’s aim to become the world’s most environmentally sustainable airline and we are pleased to be taking the lead, along with Auckland Airport, on this trial which will allow our aircraft to taxi on to gate with their auxiliary power units switched off, reducing CO2 emissions and noise.”

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