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GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, the largest low-cost and low-fare airline in Latin America, has selected global air transport IT provider SITA, and its technology partner Flightman, to provide applications and services for the electronic flight bags (EFBs) on board its entire fleet of 130 Boeing 737-NG aircraft.

This five-year contract, announced today at the Latin American aviation summit FIDAE, includes the provision of SITA e-Aircraft Application Services. This is a ground-breaking solution that uses SITA's new EFB integration module to minimize the challenge of integrating EFB technology with airline IT systems. SITA's service runs on GOL's selected Class II EFB hardware which delivers the most benefits for retrofits. Located in the cockpit, it integrates communication avionics with hardware and software to enable the exchange of real time information between the aircraft and the airline's ground operations.

EFBs are a welcome addition on aircraft as they reduce paper-based processes and the related operational costs. They support safe operations by reducing human errors, improve service to customers by minimizing disruptions while significantly reducing the workload for flight crew and ground staff. EFB hardware alone is of limited use but the real value comes from providing the EFBs with seamless connectivity to the airline's central systems and adapting the applications to the airline's various business processes.

SITA e-Aircraft Application Services eliminates the connectivity challenge by ensuring secure data delivery across multiple channels – airport cellular, airport WiFi or satellite - as used by each airline.  If required by the airline, it can also leverage use of SITA's existing ACARS infrastructure, which is used by more than 12,000 aircraft around the world and provides proactive monitoring and performance management. SITA's service can also be quickly configured to adapt to each airline's existing business processes and future operational needs.

For GOL, SITA's EFB service will streamline all the processes around the aircraft, seamlessly connecting and integrating the aircraft with the airline's existing IT infrastructure. It will enable GOL's pilots to retrieve flight-plans or maintenance documents more easily and quicker than ever before.

Captain Adalberto Bogsan, VP, GOL said: "This EFB solution from SITA and Flightman is the most comprehensive on the market.  Our team at GOL especially likes the workflow management capabilities of the Flightman software application because it allows the flight crew to take fewer steps to find the information they need which minimizes their workload in-flight. Having SITA's e-Aircraft integration is vital and will ensure that we have a robust system that integrates fully throughout the airline and our various IT systems, allowing us to enhance productivity, reduce waste and have a platform in place for future growth."

Philip Clinch, VP Aircraft Services, SITA, said: "More and more airlines are recognizing the benefits that EFBs bring to their operations and now SITA is offering airlines a managed solution that leverages the combined experience of our EFB partners, SITA's EFB technical consulting and systems integration team, communication services and extensive device management. By choosing our service they can eliminate the headache of dealing with multiple cellular, WiFi and satellite partners and enjoy a single managed infrastructure."

Joe McGoldrick, CEO, Flightman, said: "We are excited to be delivering an EFB solution to GOL which will allow for the optimization of their operational processes around the aircraft. With more and more content being published in electronic form, the business benefits of deploying a solution on the aircraft which is connected with the airlines back-office systems have been clearly demonstrated."

As part of the delivery of the SITA e-Aircraft Application Services, the SITA team will work with GOL to ensure the airline achieves the maximum operational, economic and safety benefits obtainable from an EFB program. This includes a managed process with workshops to analyze business cases, support to obtain regulatory approvals for use and support of the change management program within the airline.

Implementation has already begun at GOL and when full regulatory approvals are achieved the solution will be used as GOL equips the 130 aircraft with its selected EFB hardware. SITA is also in discussions and conducting workshops with many other airlines as this managed infrastructure can cater to airlines with as few as 25 aircraft to those with over 600.