Shoring up rumors on the subject, Delta Air Lines has announced plans to equip 11,000 pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 tablets. The devices will initially be used to replace heavy paper-based flight kits containing navigational charts, aircraft operating documents, reference manuals and the like according to joint press release on the matter.
Each flight kit weighs around 38 pounds so when Delta replaces all of them in the fleet with a lightweight tablet, they’re looking to reduce fuel usage by an estimated 1.2 million gallons per year. That translates into a 26-million-pound reduction in carbon emissions which is the equivalent of taking more than 2,300 passenger vehicles off the road. Additionally, the company will be able to reduce paper usage by 7.5 million sheets each year and will save an estimated 900 trees annually.
This is the second major partnership between Delta Air Lines and Microsoft this year. Over the summer, the company launched a program that would give each of their 19,000+ flight attendants a Nokia Lumia 820 handset with AT&T service.
The phones will be used to handle in-flight point-of-sale, check frequent flyer information, passenger manifestos, connecting gate information and more, the companies said.
Delta will begin the Surface 2 rollout later this year on Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft. All Delta cockpits are projected to go paperless by the end of next year, we’re told. Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will be available starting October 22.