Two major commercial airlines have selected the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet to eliminate paper use onboard its aircraft.
Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines have now been added to the list of aviation customers Microsoft serves, with both companies selecting the Surface Pro 3 tablets to help improve pilot efficiency, both in the cockpit and on the ground.
Austrian Airlines is already rolling out Surface Pro 3 devices as part of the electronic flight bags (EFB) issued to each pilot. With 650 devices already deployed, the airline expects to deploy close to 1,000 before the end of this year.
One of the airline’s A320 aircraft has already been equipped with Surface Pro 3 devices and mounts from Microsoft partner NavAero, which connect with onboard power and data systems, for a three month EFB-operation with paper backup.
Once Austrian Airlines receives the necessary approvals from the Austrian Civil Aviation Authority, the airline will move forward with a completely paperless operation, and plans to equip its fleet of 80 aircraft with mounts to eliminate paper use on board.
“Starting in the late 1990s with the arrival of the first laptops in the flight deck, the dream of a completely paperless cockpit is now actually becoming a reality thanks to the Surface tablets from Microsoft,” explained Philipp Haller, B777-pilot at Austrian Airlines and electronic flight bag administrator. “The high performance, the large screen, and the – in comparison – very low weight make the Surface Pro 3 an ideal work instrument for the flight crews. We have been using laptops for 15 years to replace most of the paper on board but they could not be used during take-off and landing. Thanks to the Surface tablet-based electronic flight bags mounted in the cockpit, that is now possible!”
Lufthansa has also purchased more than 5,000 Surface Pro 3 devices for pilots. The rollout will begin next February and the project is set to be completed in all regions where Lufthansa flies by next spring.
“We have been clear on Microsoft’s commitment to Surface in business and with this move adopting Surface in their cockpit, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines join the growing number of commercial airlines using Surface Pro 3 to help give their pilots the best, most efficient and productive in-flight experience,” said Cyril Belikoff, senior director of Microsoft Surface, in an official blog post.
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