Ryanair could issue iPads to pilots in bid to cut costs
The once anticipated paperless office never happened, but Ryanair aircraft could have paperless cockpits under a new plan being considered by the low-cost carrier.
Always seeking new ways to cut costs and streamline work practices, the airline is evaluating the introduction of computer tablets, such as iPads, for its more than 2,600 pilots, in a bid to eliminate paper document use and save money.
A spokesman for Ryanair confirmed to the Irish Independent that the airline is currently evaluating the potential for using computer tablets in cockpits with a view to eliminating paper.
However, he said that while the proposal is being looked at, no trials have yet commenced and no date has been set for a possible introduction of the technology.
Ridding cockpits of paper would potentially save the airline money by reducing weight and possibly increasing the efficiency of pilots.
In June, American Airlines completed the roll-out of a so-called 'electronic flight bag' to thousands of its pilots.
That made it the first major airline to use computer tablets in cockpits on all flights.
The airline has estimated that removing what were heavy pilot document bags from aircraft will save it at least 400,000 US gallons of fuel a year, eliminating about $1.2m (€900,000) of fuel costs at current prices.
Ryanair has recently told its pilots to slow down their takeoffs, descents, and to increase all flight times by the equivalent of one minute per hour by reducing speed, in order to cut fuel costs.
With a fleet of more than 300 aircraft, fuel is the single biggest element of Ryanair's cost base.
Last year, its fuel bill rose 18pc to €1.88bn, while in the latest quarter it was up 6pc to €577m.
American Airlines has issued 8,000 iPads to its pilots and says it has so far eliminated the use of 24 million paper pages. The iPads are used by the pilots to access aviation regulations, manuals and other traditional paperwork.
The airline is also planning to roll out Samsung Galaxy Note computers (pictured) to 16,000 of its cabin crew, so that they can access customer information during flights and use them for all in-flight transactions.
Other airlines have also been rolling out computer tablets to staff.
British Airways, owned by airline group IAG, has handed out thousands of iPads to cabin crew, enabling them to access information regarding VIP passengers, for instance, so they can provide a more individual service.
In June, US carrier JetBlue also began handing out iPads to more than 2,000 of its pilots. They'll use the devices to access data and manuals that would have traditionally been in paper form.