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Delta to use Surface 2 for flight bags

Photo: Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines plans to develop 11,000 electronic flight bags (EFBs) using Microsoft’s Surface 2 tablets in order to increase operational efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.

The devices, which will be given to all pilots flying the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets later this year and to remaining fleets by the end of 2014 following approval from the Federation Aviation Administration, will run on the Windows RT 8.1 platform. It will provide flight crews with real time access to essential tools and flight-related resources including key charts, reference documents and checklists.

“Delta’s EFB running on Surface 2 continues the technological strides Delta has been making to give our crews the best tools to keep them flying safely and efficiently,” said Captain Steve Dickson, Delta’s senior vice president of Flight Operations. “This intuitive device puts key information at their fingertips right when they need it. By eliminating paper, we’ll reduce clutter and minimise time spent looking for flight information, allowing our pilots the opportunity for greater situational awareness in the air and on the ground.”

This intuitive device puts key information at their fingertips right when they need it

Captain Steve Dickson, Delta Air Lines
Leveraging Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro application, which was built for the Windows 8.1 platform, the interactive software enables flight crews to open two applications side-by-side and access detailed real time information and resources quickly, improving their situational awareness and operational efficiency. The Surface tablets fully integrate with the handheld technology in the flight deck, streamlining organisation and ensuring information continuity.

By replacing traditional 17kg flight bags with Surface 2 tablets across its entire fleet, Delta also expects to reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 1.2 million gallons per year, which will save around US$13 million in annual fuel costs.

“The integration of the EFB is part of Delta’s broader move to upgrade flight deck equipment, deploy technology enhancements and take advantage of airspace modernisation efforts,” said Dickson. “With these improvements, we’re able to reduce the airline’s environmental impact, while providing a great deal of flexibility to continue to add mobile technology solutions into our flying operations.”

Delta plans to expand the functionality of the EFB equipment and further enhance operational efficiency by providing pilots with electronic dispatch and flight release information, access to real time weather forecasts, updated operational information and new fields of communication with ground-based aircraft technicians.

In August, Delta’s 19,000 flight attendants also began using Windows Phone-based Nokia Lumia 820 phones to access customer and flight information, as well as Dynamics for Retail technology for easy onboard customer purchases.

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