Delta Air Lines will purchase 11,000 Microsoft Surface 2 tablets for its pilots to use as electronic flight bags (EFBs) as part of move to increase situational awareness and reduce the cost of replacing paper manuals and charts.
The carrier will begin introducing the 10.6-in. display touchscreen tablets for electronic charts and documents in its Boeing 757 and 767 fleets later this year, followed by full integration into the remainder of the fleet by the end of 2014.
Delta says FAA approval to use the devices in all phases of flight is expected in 2014 following “an extensive period of testing” on the 757 and 767.
The airline estimates it will save 1.2 million gallons of fuel a year by eliminating each pilot’s 38 lb. flight bag. When combined with other efficiency factors, including wireless updates to charts and documents, the airline says the EFBs will results in $13 million per year in savings.
The Surface 2 tablets, which Microsoft says have a battery life of 10 hr., will use the Windows 8.1 operating system and will carry the Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro application for viewing charts and documents.
Future applications will include real-time weather, electronic dispatch, transmission of operational information and communications with aircraft technicians on the ground, says Delta.
The airline in August provided its 19,000 mainline and regional flight attendants working on Delta Connection operations with Nokia Lumia 820 smart phones to use for on-board purchases.