American Airlines Pilots Drop Flight Bags For iPads - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

11:51 AM
Connect Directly

American Airlines Pilots Drop Flight Bags For iPads

Airline expects to save $1.2 million on fuel annually by swapping 35-pound bags of manuals and directories for lightweight Apple iPads.

iPhone 5: 10 Things To Expect
iPhone 5: 10 Things To Expect
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
American Airlines announced Monday that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the use of Apple's iPad in its cockpits during flights.

It's the latest move toward overturning long-term bans on the use of portable electronic devices during flights. In late August, for example, the FAA announced plans to study whether consumer electronics are safe for use on planes.

As a result of the FAA's approval, American Airlines pilots will use iPads loaded with digital versions of reference materials, replacing 35-pound bags of materials that currently must be lugged onto planes. American Airlines projects that, due to the decreased weight, these "electronic flight bags" will save the airline $1.2 million in annual spending on fuel.

In addition to saving costs, the iPad flight bags may also help pilots and co-pilots more easily do their jobs, American Airlines CIO Maya Leibman said in a statement. "We're focused on building a new American where technology and innovation are fundamental to the company's return to industry leadership and exceptional customer service," she said. "The electronic flight bag program is just one example of the progress we're making to provide the tools our employees need to deliver operational improvements and leading customer experience."

[ American isn't the only organization putting pilot materials on iPads. See Air Force Unit Chooses iPad For Flight Manuals. ]

While FAA has approved the use of iPads in the cockpit, American doesn't anticipate stopping there. The company is piloting a program where flight attendants use tablets that provide them with more information about passengers on the flight, including their individual travel needs. In a press release, American said it will release more details on that program over the coming months.

The cockpit iPad program will begin in September on American's fleet of Boeing 777 planes, but American says it hopes FAA approves the tablet's use across the airline's entire fleet by the end of the year, as Boeing will no longer distribute paper flight bags beginning in January 2013.

American isn't the only airline experimenting with iOS devices and apps. Delta Air Lines recently began distributing iPads to three of its airport hubs to keep travelers connected while they were waiting for their flights; Singapore Airlines and Qantas Airways units are renting iPads to customers on overseas flights; and many airlines have launched iOS apps. American Airlines and Delta will also reportedly support a new feature called Passbook that lets consumers store digital versions of, among other things, airline boarding passes on their iOS devices.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Pandemic Responses Make Room for More Data Opportunities
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  5/4/2021
10 Things Your Artificial Intelligence Initiative Needs to Succeed
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/20/2021
Transformation, Disruption, and Gender Diversity in Tech
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  5/6/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Current Issue
Planning Your Digital Transformation Roadmap
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Flash Poll