Aer Lingus pilots to use iPads instead of in-flight paperwork
AER Lingus pilots are to ditch paper-based flight documentation and replace it with iPads in a deal worth up to €300,000. The airline has ordered 500 high-end iPad Air tablets, worth €600 each, to give pilots access to weather charts, flight planning schedules and other information crucial to their job.
The move replicates similar actions from a number of international airlines keen to cut down on cockpit clutter and weight.
"At the moment, pilots could be taking 100 pages of paper with them," said a spokesman for the airline. "This move toward an electronic cockpit will replace 98pc of the printing they have to do and will remove significant weight.
"It will give them an electronic version of what would have been paper driven, including flight plans, weather charts and Notams (notices filed to aviation authorities of potential hazards)."
The spokesman said that a number of pilots were already equipped with 'rugged' laptops, but the iPad was a much lighter solution.
Meanwhile, Aer Lingus has reset its policy to allow use of all non-cellular personal electronic devices during takeoff and landing on most of its aircraft.
"On all of our Airbus flights, you can now use your iPod or Kindle or whatever during takeoff and landing," said the spokesman. "The only aircraft that still have some restrictions in this area are our Boeing aircraft and smaller Aer Lingus regional planes."
The spokesman said that seven Aer Lingus long-haul planes now have WiFi available to passengers. He said that the next roll-out of WiFi would be across the airline's short-haul fleet.
The news comes as a new industry report says that airlines are increasing their investments in digital processes.
The report, from airline industry IT firm SITA, claims that most airlines are boosting their investments in IT.
"Though the picture is not perfect now, change is coming," said Nigel Pickford, director of market insight at SITA. "All airlines and 90pc of airports are planning to make business intelligence investments in the coming three years."
The report, which is based on global research with input from airlines such as British Airways and airports such as the Dublin Airport Authority and Heathrow, says that flight status updates will extend to the vast majority of airlines and airports by the end of 2016.
It says that bag status updates will be offered by 61pc of airlines, while 79pc of airports will provide status notifications, such as waiting times through security and walking times to gates. More than three quarters will also be providing navigation through the airport using mobile apps, it says.