Here’s Why Airlines Love Apple’s iPad

Southwest Plane

In an industry where every pound can add cost, more airlines are discovering the advantages of the iPad’s sleek and low-weight design. A pilot’s traditional flight kitbag of paper-based charts and manuals can weigh upwards of 35 pounds, which can add significantly to the overall fuel costs for an airline. However, many airlines are getting around this issue by replacing the pilot’s paper-based reference materials with digital copies on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPads.

American Airlines  has literally been getting a lot of mileage out of the iPad’s low weight since it first began using Apple’s tablet devices on its Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777s in 2011. Via The Wall Street Journal, American Airlines pilot Captain Jim Kaiser estimates that the airline saves approximately $1.2 million a year in fuel costs thanks to the iPad’s negligible weight.

Besides the obvious fuel savings that come from the reduced weight of the iPad, the switch to digital documents has also saved pilots many hours previously spent on manually arranging documents before a flight. Now pilots can easily and quickly arrange their flight documents using the iPad’s touchscreen. “It’s about information management, the human factors of managing charts,” notes Alaska Airlines (NYSE:ALK) pilot Captain Jim Freeman.