24 Sep 2012


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Air France is the first major European airline to equip its 4,100 pilots with an iPad digital tablet. Boeing 777- qualified pilots have been using it on a daily basis since June, and all the Company’s pilots will be equipped by summer 2013.

Interview with Sébastien VEIGNEAU, First Officer on B777 & iPad project pilot correspondent. 

What are the advantages of using this tablet?

The Flight Operations Division and the Air France IT Systems Division have been working together with Apple to personalize this tool and adapt it especially for our pilots. It will simplify access to information, notably for consulting regulatory documentation, and facilitate our communication channels within the Company.

Starting in 2013, iPad will offer training and refresher e-learning modules, i.e., aircraft system revision, self-service briefings, flight path and airfield recognition. With this tool, Air France has chosen to promote use of new technologies and is the first European airline to equip its pilots. 

Why equip Air France pilots with an iPad in a time of economic crisis?

In its transformation plan, Air France has systematically asserted that investments in flight safety would be preserved. With this iPad, which we call the “Pilot Pad”, we are favouring innovation and simplicity in reaching the highest possible standards in flight safety. 

How can its roll-out contribute to improving flight safety?

This new tool is exclusively reserved for personal use on the ground and replaces the laptop PC used by Air France pilots over the past four years. Its main assets are the simplicity, rapidity and easier access to documentation it provides and which make a significant contribution to strengthening flight safety. 

The Company, which had been using in-house documentation up to date, has, like most other airlines, opted to use the documentation provided by manufacturers Airbus and Boeing, benefiting from other operators’ feedback. 

By replacing the paper documentation distributed to each pilot, the iPad allows pilots to consult and update all the operational documentation they need in electronic format. 

Pilots can download the manuals of their choice by accessing an online library and store them in electronic libraries. The pilots are automatically informed whenever information is modified in a manual: they simply have to carry out the update by Wi-Fi wherever they are in the world. A mapping function allowing the pilots to consult “airfield information sheets” is also available.

A “Pilot Store” has also been created offering specific applications designed for pilots, most of which have been developed by Air France. 

You are constantly on the move. How will this tool improve communication with the company?

Yes, this is another advantage of the iPad, to facilitate communication processes by writing, typing and sending reports (Air Safety Report, Captain’s Report, Security Report) at the end of flight in the form of “e-forms”, providing instant feedback which is essential to improve flight safety. The user can also access the company intranet, offering specific online sites and services for pilots, as well as send and receive emails via the company email. 

Will Air France be putting iPads to any other kind of use?

Yes of course! The Company is currently testing the use of digital tablets for some ground staff to improve the quality of information provided to customers, especially at peak periods. Initial feedback is encouraging.

At the same time, Air France is also working to replace paper documentation on board with an electronic format thanks to another adapted tool (the Electronic Flight Bag) which will ultimately save weight and therefore fuel andCO2 emissions. 

Download high res pictures

Read the press release “Flight Safety: Air France, first major European airline to provide pilots with the iPad” 

Discover all the latest Air France news in real time wherever you are on the free iPhone application on the corporate website and on smartphones at http://mobile-corporate.airfrance.com/en  

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