MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Delta Air Lines plans to buy 11,000 Microsoft Surface 2 tablets for its pilots to replace the heavy bundles of books and maps they haul around now.
Other airlines, including American and United, have been buying Apple's iPad for that purpose.
Delta says the Surface tablets will save it $13 million per year in fuel and other costs. Right now, each pilot carries a 38-pound flight bag with manuals and maps.
Delta plans to test the tablets on its Boeing 757s and 767s, which are flown by the same group of pilots. The airline is hoping for Federal Aviation Administration approval next year to use the tablets throughout a flight, and it hopes to be using the devices on all of its other planes by the end of next year.
One reason Delta picked a Microsoft device was that it's easier to give pilots separate sections for company and personal use, said Steve Dickson, Delta's senior vice president for flight operations.
Pilots will be able to install personal software and keep their own items such as photos on the personal section of the devices, while another portion will be dedicated to Delta's software, Dickson said.
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