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Gulf Air latest to adopt iPad electronic flight bags

post #1 of 18
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Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain's flagship air carrier, announced last week the adoption of an iPad-based electronic flight bag program in cooperation with local telecommunications provider VIVA Bahrain.


Gulf Air CEO Maher Salman Al Musallam (center) signs agreement for iPad EFB deployment.


Spotted by AppleInsider reader Hussain, the carrier's plan to roll out its iPad EFB program was revealed in a meeting on Sunday that covered Gulf Air's Information and Communication Technology initiatives. In all, 355 iPads will be purchased and distributed throughout the airline's fleet.

"We are proud of our existing strategic relationship with VIVA Bahrain and pleased to extend this partnership to include the provision of iPad devices as part of Gulf Air's Electronic Flight Bag project," said Gulf Air Acting CEO Maher Salman Al Musallam. "This is an essential component of our ongoing commitment to all new technology that provides integrated solutions for managing information in the air and on the ground."

While not as massive a rollout as major airlines like American, which now has more than 8,000 iPads issued as EFBs throughout its fleet, the Gulf Air buy reinforces the impact Apple's tablet is having on a wide variety of industries. For air travel, the device replaces heavy kitbags traditionally carried by pilots and crew, saving weight and thus fuel.

"At Gulf Air we always endeavor to leverage the latest technologies in order to improve the efficiency of the airline's operations and provide better services to our passengers," said Gulf Air Director Information Technology, Dr. Jassim Haji. This collaboration ensures we deliver the latest technology to our team and, as a result, to our passengers."

Along with commercial airlines, the U.S. Air Force is also using iPad EFBs to cut down on fuel costs. It was estimated that the switch to paperless flight bags will save the branch's cargo unit some $750,000 in fuel and $5 million in printing costs per year. The Air Force said it plans to save $50 million with its deployment of 18,000 iPads over the next ten years.
post #2 of 18
Yep... when reliability and durability is an absolute must, there's only one tablet I'd want in that flight deck when heavy, paper manuals are no longer used.

Trusting one's flight manuals to some trash Android tablet is like rolling dice. No thank you.
post #3 of 18
I am totally surprised. Samsung rules in the Gulf region and especially in Saudi. It is difficult to believe that they adopted a superior device when they could have had a slightly cheaper much less reliable piece of Samsung buggy hesitating junk that they all accept as 'the standard'. At least in Qatar, they use a fair amount of iPhones but Samsung is ubiquitous.

Apple doesn't allow 'bucksheesh' to be used and would likely have been dropped from the bid while Samsung almost exclusively uses 'incentives' to entice buyers. Samsung morality is substantially different from that stated in the Koran and yet they are given preference in the middle east.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post
Trusting one's flight manuals to some trash Android tablet is like rolling dice. No thank you.

 

Definitely. If an airline is so cheap that they would skimp on such vital equipment merely to save a few bucks, then that's definitely no airline that I'd want to be flying with. 

 

I can understand why certain people buy Android tablets. They're cheap (cheap junk for the most part), and not everybody has money to spend on something proper, but airlines certainly do, and there's simply no excuse for them not to.

 

It makes you wonder, what else would an airline be skimping on, if an airline was skimping on their tablets and using Android? Are the rivets in the wings second hand rivets bought from a shady used rivets salesman with a mullet? It's all about saving a buck, isn't it?

post #5 of 18
As far as I know there are no airlines using Android tablets for flight bag replacements. Only Delta Airlines uses MS Surfaces due to some photos locked in Bill Gates safe. Every other outfit that's gone electronic use iPads.
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post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectroTech View Post

I am totally surprised. Samsung rules in the Gulf region and especially in Saudi. It is difficult to believe that they adopted a superior device when they could have had a slightly cheaper much less reliable piece of Samsung buggy hesitating junk that they all accept as 'the standard'. At least in Qatar, they use a fair amount of iPhones but Samsung is ubiquitous.

Apple doesn't allow 'bucksheesh' to be used and would likely have been dropped from the bid while Samsung almost exclusively uses 'incentives' to entice buyers. Samsung morality is substantially different from that stated in the Koran and yet they are given preference in the middle east.

The problem in the Gulf region is there is no official Apple retail presence. Only third party retailers and they suck. In most Gult countries, foreign businesses need to have a citizen partner with 51% ownership to conduct business. You probably already know that. Like you said, Samsung is everywhere there mainly because they have authorize agents and they let them do whatever they want as long as they sell Samsung products.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectroTech View Post

I am totally surprised. Samsung rules in the Gulf region and especially in Saudi. It is difficult to believe that they adopted a superior device when they could have had a slightly cheaper much less reliable piece of Samsung buggy hesitating junk that they all accept as 'the standard'. At least in Qatar, they use a fair amount of iPhones but Samsung is ubiquitous.

Apple doesn't allow 'bucksheesh' to be used and would likely have been dropped from the bid while Samsung almost exclusively uses 'incentives' to entice buyers. Samsung morality is substantially different from that stated in the Koran and yet they are given preference in the middle east.

A couple of things
1. Premium is king in Bahrain
2. Apple didn't submit for the tender, viva telecom, a local reseller did. Only local companies registered in Bahrain can win government tenders
3. I'm not convinced the Koran has a position on Apple v Samsung :-)
post #8 of 18

Meanwhile in Bentonville, Arkansas, Billy-Joe Jim-Bob Thornton has adopted the latest technology from Walmart for Hillbilly airways:-

 

 

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post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectroTech View Post

I am totally surprised. Samsung rules in the Gulf region and especially in Saudi. It is difficult to believe that they adopted a superior device when they could have had a slightly cheaper much less reliable piece of Samsung buggy hesitating junk that they all accept as 'the standard'. At least in Qatar, they use a fair amount of iPhones but Samsung is ubiquitous.

Apple doesn't allow 'bucksheesh' to be used and would likely have been dropped from the bid while Samsung almost exclusively uses 'incentives' to entice buyers. Samsung morality is substantially different from that stated in the Koran and yet they are given preference in the middle east.

Except that it's not so clear cut. 'Bucksheesh' or as we Brits would say 'Baksheesh' carries far less negative connotations in other parts of the world. In India and Pakistan beggars use it interchangably with 'Alms' to denote giving as a privilege to the 'giver'. In Egypt my taxi driver had a printed 'Bakhshesh' tip menu based on how good the roads were. In the Middle East 'Bakhshesh' is viewed as serious intent in a transaction and no different to western companies offering additional 'incentives'. Almost like obtaining a 'license' to compete.
OT. I guess we can add Bucksheesh/Baksheesh to Aluminum/Aluminium, amongst other trans-Atlantic quirks. I remember coming across Mark Twain using Bucksheesh, which my mind translated as 'buck- cheap' and an American take.
post #10 of 18
I fly for American Eagle (now known as Envoy) and we have a volunteer iPad program. If you want to use it then you have to pay for the iPad yourself. I decided to do it so I could ditch 60lbs of paper. There are a lot if pilots that don't participate in the program because they refuse to pay for the iPad and think the company should.
post #11 of 18
Android? Was hoping the Blackberry PlayBook would come back in style.

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post #12 of 18

No joke about some junk tablets out there. The school my son attends got 10" Dell tablets for all the students at the start of the school year. They run Windows 8. Nobody uses them now -- my son can't stand his and always uses his iPhone 4 instead. I'm quite a techie and I haven't been able to get a lot of it to work properly. I've been hamstrung by many of the settings being locked out with group policy -- Wifi just stops working for no reason frequently, it can no longer pair with his Bluetooth keyboard, etc.

 

If you want a toy to use for a few weeks then toss into a drawer to be forgotten, then get an Android or Windows tablet. If you want one that you'll want to use for years then go with the Apple.

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For air travel, the device replaces heavy kitbags traditionally carried by pilots and crew, saving weight and thus fuel.

I never really understood this concept. People are sneaking all kinds of extra bags on the plane as carry-on with who knows how much heavy stuff packed in there. Two pilots with one less bag is going to make a difference in fuel? Doubt it. Impossible to calculate anyway. If the jet stream is moving in a favorable direction, they would save 1000 fold more fuel than the weight of those two bags and of course the inverse is true as well. As I understand it they still need one hard copy set even with the iPads.

 

The iPads don't have to be justified with fuel savings. They are iPads. That is all the justification they need.

 

Last time I flew in a private jet, back in 2012, the pilots were using Android tablets. Sure they were like ex-military type guys in their mid 30s with really great careers, but what the heck, it just makes sense for stuff to be digital.

 

I don't blame them. Their home computers were probably over clocked, their tablets were probably over clocked and rooted. Their plane was definitely over clocked. When we entered the United States air space, all of a sudden they said "Oh Shit! we just got busted for over the speed limit". I guess they were flying a couple hundred miles per hour over the speed limit and the FAA warned them.


Edited by mstone - 5/20/14 at 8:53pm

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post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
 

I never really understood this concept. People are sneaking all kinds of extra bags on the plane as carry-on with who knows how much heavy stuff packed in there. Two pilots with one less bag is going to make a difference in fuel? Doubt it. Impossible to calculate anyway. If the jet stream is moving in a favorable direction, they would save 1000 fold more fuel than the weight of those two bags and of course the inverse is true as well. As I understand it they still need one hard copy set even with the iPads.

 

The iPads don't have to be justified with fuel savings. They are iPads. That is all the justification they need.

 

Last time I flew in a private jet, back in 2012, the pilots were using Android tablets. Sure they were like ex-military type guys in their mid 30s with really great careers, but what the heck, it just makes sense for stuff to be digital.

 

I don't blame them. Their home computers were probably over clocked, their tablets were probably over clocked and rooted. Their plane was definitely over clocked. When we entered the United States air space, all of a sudden they said "Oh Shit! we just got busted for over the speed limit". I guess they were flying a couple hundred miles per hour over the speed limit and the FAA warned them.

 

Yes, more fuel can be saved via favorable winds, but fuel is burned to move mass around the world... even replacing 80 lbs worth of paper with 4 lbs worth of iPad creates SOME savings ... not much per flight, but considering an airline operates thousands of flights per day, it adds up over time.  (That said... it's a stupid reason to switch... if efficiency is the goal, there are much larger targets in an airlines overall operation to save both operational expense and/or fuel use.)

 

No... a hard copy of paper charts is NOT still required. (It is during the testing/demo phase, but once an airline receives permission from the FAA, all the paper charts and manuals are ditched.)

 

There is no "speed limit" in U.S. airspace... they didn't get "busted".  

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post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post
 

There is no "speed limit" in U.S. airspace... they didn't get "busted".  

 

I wonder if they were flying faster than a Concorde, somehow I don't think so.

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post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post
 

There is no "speed limit" in U.S. airspace... they didn't get "busted".  

 

I wonder if they were flying faster than a Concorde, somehow I don't think so.

The Concorde was not allowed to fly at top speed while over populated areas. Once you are under control of an FAA tower, you must fly at the speed they tell you.

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post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post
 
Yes, more fuel can be saved via favorable winds, but fuel is burned to move mass around the world... even replacing 80 lbs worth of paper with 4 lbs worth of iPad creates SOME savings ... not much per flight, but considering an airline operates thousands of flights per day, it adds up over time.  

Yeah by not allowing obese people onboard. More than half the passengers on a typical commercial flight are more than 80 lbs overweight. That would be about an 8,000 lb. reduction in weight.

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post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yeah by not allowing obese people onboard. More than half the passengers on a typical commercial flight are more than 80 lbs overweight. That would be about an 8,000 lb. reduction in weight.

Oh, I don't mind the fat people flying. I just think they should be required to pay for two gnikcuf seats! (...or 3 if that's how many they need.)
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