Qantas today announced it will partner with Telstra to provide its pilots with iPads for use on the flight deck.
Beginning with Qantas’ Boeing 737 fleet, pilots will be able to access a wide range of operational information via iPads rather than using bulky paper documents – including charts, flight plans, manuals and forms.
Today Qantas prints 18,000 pages of paper for flight operations every day – the full introduction of iPads will see this reduced to just 3,000 pages. The weight of the paper flight library carried on board will drop by 20 kilograms. Ultimately, more than 2,200 64GB iPads will be distributed to all domestic and international Qantas pilots on all fleet types.
The iPads will be used to keep pilots up-to-date with critical flight data and each one will be equipped with two native apps that have been developed for cockpit use” one for charts by Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen and one by Qantas itself for all other necessary information. Telstra will integrate the iPads as part of its broader relationship with Qantas. Additionally, on the ground in Australia, Telstra will connect pilots using its NextG network, while international on-ground connectivity will draw on Telstra’s global Wi-Fi partner network.
Qantas hopes to begin introducing iPads for pilots by September 2012 subject to regulatory approval. Implementation is expected to take three to four weeks per fleet type with a transition period when certain paperwork is still carried on board, as pilots familiarise themselves with the new systems.
Qantas Technical Pilot, Captain Alex Passerini, said the iPad initiative was in keeping with Qantas’ history of innovation and commitment to new technology.
“Qantas has always strived to lead the way in flight operations technology, be it our pioneering of the Future Air Navigation System in the 1990s or our work with on-board satellite navigation today,” Captain Passerini said.
“The revolutionary capabilities of iPad technology, combined with the powerful customized apps, give our pilots the ability to replace cumbersome hard copies – saving time, resources and costs.
“This initiative is a response to strong demand from our pilots for a simpler, more efficient system, and follows extensive testing and development work, including close consultation with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).”
Paul Geason, Group Managing Director, Telstra Enterprise & Government, said companies who embrace the latest technology can reap productivity benefits and cost savings.
“At Telstra we are constantly looking for new ways to harness technology for the benefit of our customers so we’re thrilled to be working with Qantas to deliver beneficial changes to both its pilots and its business. The iPad solution we're implementing together is the perfect example of how technology can not only simplify, but also improve both productivity and efficiency."