Alaska Airlines will officially use Apple's iPad tablet to show track flight information, manuals, references and more in PDFs. It will be implemented by mid-June.
This will replace all printed pilot manuals. It is the first time domestic airlines to adopt this. They claim that this change will result in savings of about 2.4 million pieces of paper.
The pilots of Alaska can now carry only iPads instead of heavy bags full of printed flight manuals. Those hard copy flight manuals can weigh as much as 25 pounds. The airline is also looking into other ways to save paper and put the flight charts on iPads as well.
We've been exploring the idea of an electronic flight bag for several years, but never found a device we really liked, said Gary Beck, Alaska Airlines' vice president of flight operations. When the iPad hit the market, we took one look at it and said this is the perfect fit.
However, the adoption of iPad in the airlines has been criticized by some industry experts for the cost. Alaska did not yet given the cost for this program. It is also not yet decided whether the adopted iPads will be first-generation iPads or brand-new iPad 2s.
On the other hand, Alaska Airlines claims it will lead to fewer back and muscle injuries caused by pilots carrying flight bags that can tip the scales at 50 pounds or more fully loaded. Also The cost of the project is expected to be offset by lower paper, printing and distribution expenses and reduced fuel consumption as some weight is removed from the aircraft.
However, even pilots have to turn off the electronic devices during takeoff and landing.