El Al Israel Airlines Ltd. (TASE: ELAL) will begin a trial project next month ahead of transferring all flight manuals on its Boeing 777 fleet to iPads. When the plan is completed, all the carrier's pilots will be equipped with iPads and will use them to manage flights to destinations worldwide, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, with El Al able to dispense with an average of 40 kilograms of paper per flight.
According to Captain Ofer Yaari the move will save El Al $4,000 in fuel costs on each flight. He said, "Each year we will save about $160,000 in fuel alone on overall flights, and streamlining measures related to the literature required on aircraft will bring savings of somewhere between $250,000 and $400,000."
In the coming weeks, El Al will provide the pilots taking part in the trial with some 130 iPads, containing all the necessary flight data such as takeoff and landing flight paths at airports around the world, relevant radio frequencies, maps, permitted heights in various locations and much more. The iPads will also contain Boeing's specifications and manuals about the plane, which the flight crew need available at all times.
The trial will last for six months and be closely supervised by the Israel Civil Aviation Authority. During this period, all the vast amount of required literature will remain on board in paper form. If the trial is successful then all 520 El Al pilots will bid farewell to their heavy cases of paper files by October 2013.
Yaari said, "Everything will be on the iPad, every destination that we fly to worldwide will be available on the screen with one press and we won't need paper, which adds great weight to the plane. We won't need post to send around these huge files and everything will be far more convenient."
El Al is not the first airline to institute such a project. Air France, American Airlines, and United have all already introduced iPads. Yaari said, "All crews will undergo appropriate training to operate flight manuals on the iPad even though we are talking about straightforward and easy operations. Many companies worldwide are moving in this direction and new passenger planes already don't need iPads because the required data is presented on screens built-in to the cockpit."
El Al stressed that the move over to pilots with iPads will not endanger flight safety and the iPads will not be connected to the plane's computer systems, and trials have already shown that they do not disrupt them either.
First Officer Eran Gil who has already conducted several flights with the iPad and will take part in the trial said, "Apple's walled garden allows better information security than other platforms: the computer collapses much less than other computers."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 17, 2012
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