Did Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) beat Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to this Delta (NYSE:DAL) deal? Delta’s pilots will soon be going paperless as the airline plans to replace the paper-based charts and manuals that its pilots use on flights with Microsoft’s Surface 2 tablets, reports Windows IT Pro.
The announcement comes as many other airlines have started to replace pilots’ traditional flight kitbags with Apple’s iPads in an effort to improve efficiency and reduce fuel costs. A pilot’s paper-based flight kitbag can weigh upwards of 35 pounds, which can add significantly to the overall fuel costs for an airline.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier this year, American Airlines (AAMRQ.PK) has been using Apple’s iPads as electronic flight kitbags on its Boeing (NYSE:BA) 777s since 2011. However, American Airlines isn’t the only airline to replace its paper manuals with iPads. Many other airlines, including JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), either already use iPads or have plans to transition to iPads in the near future.
However, it appears that Microsoft was able to keep at least one airline out of Apple’s grasp. “In less than two years, Delta cockpits will be paperless as we roll-out the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet running Windows 8.1 RT as our company-issued device,” said Delta via Windows IT Pro. “The 757/767 fleet will be the first to make the transition with the 777, 747 and MD88 as fast followers.”
Although Delta will soon be adopting Microsoft’s Surface 2 as its official tablet, the airline currently allows its pilots to use their own iPads on flights. However, Delta eventually wants “current iPad Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) users to transition to a company-issued device,” reports Windows IT Pro.
Some industry watchers were surprised by Delta’s announcement since Apple’s iPad has already been widely adopted by many other commercial airlines as well as the military. Last year, the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command purchased 18,000 iPads at a discounted price of $520 per unit, according to Apple Insider.
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