Delta and Microsoft have announced a partnership which will equip pilots with Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet.
The tablets will act as electronic flight bag devices operating on Windows RT 8.1. Designed to replace heavy and cumbersome flight manuals, each tablet will store thousands of pages of electronic documents, charts, navigational aids, checklists and key reference materials.
The tablets will also include the FliteDeck Pro application, which gives flight crews quicker and more efficient access to key, real-time information and resources.
Delta says that once rolled out to its entire fleet, replacing the manuals will result in immediate fuel and cost savings. The airline hopes that the scheme will result in eliminating the use of 7.5 million sheets of paper annually, while reducing carbon emissions by 26 million pounds on 1.2 million fewer gallons of fuel.
Pilots flying the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets will be first to secure the tablets.
"The integration of the electronic flight bag is part of Delta's broader move to upgrade flight deck equipment, deploy technology enhancements and take advantage of airspace modernization efforts," said Steve Dickson, Delta's senior vice president of Flight Operations. "With these improvements, we’re able to reduce the airline's environmental impact while providing a great deal of flexibility to continue to add mobile technology solutions into our flying operations."
The device rollout will begin this year, and it is hoped that flights will be paperless by the end of 2014. Delta pilots fly over 160 million passengers every year.