What is the minimum number of engines required for taxiing for jet airlines from a fuel savings perspective, for 4 engine configurations and 2 engine configurations?

Is using fewer engines counter productive, given that if fewer engines are used more throttle would be required and hence more fuel?

Finally can jumbos like the boeing 747-800 and the airbus A380 taxi with just one engine?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It is extremely common for multi-engine jets to shut off one or more engines while taxiing to save fuel. The A380/747-8 may even be required to do it on narrow taxiways to avoid sucking in FOD since the outer engines can hang over the grass. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ Related, maybe duplicate: Taxiing with one engine: Is engine #1 always used or do they switch? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ This question states there are some airliners for which the answer is one. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 10:07

1 Answer 1


Whether it's a twin-, tri-, or quad-jet, it very much depends on the aircraft design, airline policy, and conditions such as taxiway slope, contamination, weight, etc.

Read the below example for the Airbus A320 to get an idea:

enter image description here

An example of what can go wrong when taxiing on two out of four engines (or 1 out of 2) is having the aircraft in the wrong configuration. Like what happened on August 23, 2001 when the ground engineer had no steering or braking and they ended up in a ditch:

enter image description here

For the Airbus A380:

enter image description here

The minimum is a symmetrical two on the A380 (likewise for the 747).


In the 777 it is not allowed. That's an example of how it depends on the aircraft design.

Taxi – One Engine

Because of additional operational procedural requirements and crew workload, taxiing with an engine shut down is not allowed. High bypass engines require warm up prior to applying takeoff thrust and cool down prior to shutting down. If the engine has been shut down for several hours, it is desirable to operate at as low a thrust setting as practicable for several minutes prior to takeoff.

Note: Single engine taxi with an inoperative engine is authorized consistent with good judgement.

(Boeing 777 FCOM)

Fuel saving

According to this Eurocontrol document, the saving is about 4-8 kg of fuel per minute.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wow, that picture looks like a really bad day at the office. Breaking the front off of your 747 is no good. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 5:09
  • $\begingroup$ @reirab: And breaking one of the few 747-300s, even worse. $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 23:19

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