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JetBlue Pilots to Use iPads in Air

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With the approval of Federal Aviation Administration, JetBlue Airways (JBLU - Free Report) will allow all its pilots to use custom-equipped iPads on-board. This will replace the heavy paper manuals during flight phases, resulting in reduction of weight on the plane and in turn fuel saving as well as lower printing costs. Additionally, pilots will have more real-time capabilities in the cockpit plus better technological support.

JetBlue conducted a trial phase over several months by giving iPads to 60 pilots. Subsequently, the airline handed over a fourth-generation 16 GB Wi-Fi compatible Apple Inc. (AAPL - Free Report) iPad to 2,500 pilots.

Although JetBlue had the permission to use a PC-based laptop – Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) – in the cockpit for a decade, this latest iPad addition will likely make things easier for the pilots. Through these devices, pilots will be able to update flight documents and details safely and securely.

Further, the iPads will assist the pilots in checking weather conditions and assessing digital airport and aircraft charts. JetBlue's Ka-band satellite-based Wi-Fi enabled LiveTV downloads weather imagery much faster than any other systems.

JetBlue will utilize WSI Optima application for weather reports, the Comply365 software for digital findings and the AeroData DFP system for aircraft performance, weight and balance calculations. The company also intends to implement digital chart capability, once approved.

This move will help JetBlue to render improved customer service as pilots will get a detailed briefing about the weather and accordingly update fliers. We believe that higher customer satisfaction and cost-saving steps will drive growth for the company.

A few days ago, American Airlines – the subsidiary of AMR Corp. – launched the Electronic Flight Bag program, whereby pilots, during flights, will utilize tablets across its current fleet – The Boeing Company’s (BA - Free Report) 777, 767, 757, 737 and MD-80 jets.

JetBlue currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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