American Airlines finishes rolling out iPad flight bags

Some airlines and aircraft makers have made a big deal of moving to tablet-based flight bags, but few can say they've made a complete switch. American Airlines can -- it just finished deploying iPad-based kits to all its cockpits, which can use the tablets at every stage of flight. The move lets the carrier ditch paper charts and manuals across the board, with an according round of savings in fuel and weight. Regional partners haven't made the leap to digital, although that may come soon: American Eagle Airlines will have the choice of using iPad flight bags starting on July 10th. While most of us in the passenger seats will never notice the difference, the shift will likely help American's bottom line.

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FOR RELEASE: Monday, June 24, 2013

AMERICAN AIRLINES COMPLETES ELECTRONIC FLIGHT BAG IMPLEMENTATION

American Becomes the First Major Commercial Carrier to Deploy Electronic Flight Bags throughout Fleet and Discontinue Paper Revisions

FORT WORTH, Texas – American Airlines has completed the successful rollout of its industry-leading Electronic Flight Bag program with the discontinuation of paper revisions to terminal charts, making it the first major commercial airline to fully utilize tablets in all cockpits during all phases of flight. In April, American completed testing on its Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft and has secured FAA approval to use the Apple iPad on all of its current fleet types – Boeing 777, 767, 757, 737 and MD-80.

An Electronic Flight Bag, which replaces more than 35 pounds of paper-based reference material and manuals that pilots often carried in their carry-on kitbag, offers numerous benefits for American and its pilots.

"Our Electronic Flight Bag program has a significant positive environmental and cost-savings impact," said David Campbell, American's Vice President – Safety and Operations Performance. "In fact, removing the kitbag from all of our planes saves a minimum of 400,000 gallons and $1.2 million of fuel annually based on current fuel prices. Additionally, each of the more than 8,000 iPads we have deployed to date replaces more than 3,000 pages of paper previously carried by every active pilot and instructor. Altogether, 24 million pages of paper documents have been eliminated."

All American pilots now enjoy the benefits associated with replacing their heavy kitbags – one of the airline's biggest sources of pilot injuries – with a 1.35-pound iPad. The digital format also requires less time to update each of the six or more paper manuals found in each pilot's kitbag, as manual paper revisions take hours to complete every month, compared to the minutes it takes for electronic updates.

"Our focus on technological improvement throughout our operation has never been stronger as we continue to build the new American," said Patrick O'Keeffe, American's Vice President – Airline Operations Technology. "As the first major commercial airline to successfully complete the Electronic Flight Bag transition across its fleet, we are proud to count this among our other successful programs that provide the tools our people need to perform their duties safely and efficiently."

As part of the Electronic Flight Bag program, American's pilots use mobile software and data from Jeppesen, a unit of Boeing Digital Aviation. The FAA-approved Jeppesen Mobile Terminal Chart application is allowed for gate-to-gate use throughout all phases of flight and, with the exception of a few select documents, replaces paper operating manuals with up-to-date electronic information that is easier to access.

"We congratulate American Airlines on the success of its Electronic Flight Bag program," said Jeppesen President Thomas Wede. "Working closely together on this program over several years, we take pride in American's achievements as it continues to eliminate paper-based materials in the flight deck, reducing pilot workload and increasing operational efficiency in a competitive business environment."

American and the Allied Pilots Association (APA) began working on the feasibility of using a tablet device as an Electronic Flight Bag in June 2010, and American was the first commercial airline to receive FAA approval to use a tablet during all phases of flight in December 2011 on its Boeing 777 fleet. American has worked closely with its pilots throughout all phases of development that led to the program's full integration.

Beginning July 10, American Eagle Airlines pilots will have the option to use Apple iPads to access reference material and manuals, making American Eagle one of the first regional carriers to adopt Electronic Flight Bags.

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American Airlines finishes rolling out iPad flight bags