El Al Airlines will begin a trial project next month ahead of transferring all flight manuals on its Boeing 777 fleet to iPads, Israel's business daily Globes news reported.
When the plan is completed, all the carrier's pilots will be equipped with iPads, enabling them to manage flights to destinations worldwide, reportedly saving hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
"Each year we will save about $160,000 in fuel alone on overall flights, and streamlining measures related to the literature required on aircraft will bring savings of somewhere between $250,000 and $400,000," said Captain Ofer Ya'ari.
According to Globes, El Al will be providing the pilots taking part in the trial with some 130 iPads, containing all the necessary flight data including takeoff and landing flight paths, relevant radio frequencies, maps, and permitted heights in various locations. The iPads will also contain Boeing's specifications and plane manuals, which need to be available to the flight crew at all times.
The six-month trial will be closely supervised by the Israel Civil Aviation Authority. If the trial is successful, all 520 El Al pilots will convert their paper files to iPads by October 2013.
"Everything will be on the iPad, every destination that we fly to worldwide will be available on the screen with one press and we won't need paper, which adds great weight to the plane,” Ya'ari said. “We won't need post to send around these huge files and everything will be far more convenient."
El Al is not the first airline to institute such a project. Air France, American Airlines, and United have all already introduced iPads. Ya'ari said, "All crews will undergo appropriate training to operate flight manuals on the iPad even though we are talking about straightforward and easy operations,” he said. “Many companies worldwide are moving in this direction and new passenger planes already don't need iPads because the required data is presented on screens built in to the cockpit."
El Al stressed that the move will not endanger flight safety and the iPads will not be connected to the plane's computer systems. Trials have already shown that they do not disrupt the computers either, Globes reported.