Microsoft to help Delta Airlines go digital, saving fuel with Surface 2 tablets

It's no secret that Microsoft's first generation of Windows 8 tablets haven not done as well as the company hoped. That said, the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro, which were both announced late last month are set to launch later in the year, both featuring new chips, improvements and appeal. To avoid experiencing Déjà vu, Microsoft will also be looking to partner with companies to help ship units, including Delta Airlines.

Both parties have announced a deal that will involve 11,000 Surface 2 tablets to replace heavy pilot flight bags.

You may now be wondering how exactly they plan on saving fuel with Windows 8 hardware, possibly assuming the absence of pilot bags will not affect the plane weight. You'd be wrong. That's exactly what Delta plans to do. The idea is to remove the 38-pound flight bags pilots' use, which are loaded with maps, charts, checklists and reference materials. All this information will be stored digitally on the Surface 2 tablets.

So how much fuel will the airline be saving exactly? According to a blog post by Delta Senior VP, Captain Steve Dickinson, the move will reduce duel consumption by 1.2 million gallons per year. This will lead to a 26 million pound reduction in annual emissions (the equivalent to taking a fair few vehicles off the road). It's not just the saving of fuel, though.

Dickinson also notes that the ability to run two apps side-by-side enables pilots to examine multiple sources of information at once (think weather conditions and navigation). This isn't the first time Microsoft and Delta have worked together either. Microsoft is currently looking to outfit 19,000 flight attendants with the Nokia Lumia 820 smartphone for in-flight services.

It's actually interesting Delta has gone with Microsoft's second-generation Surface hardware, especially since the tablets have not yet been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for cockpit use. The airline will be rolling the tablets out on 700 Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft, with the aim to complete the rollout and go paperless by 2014.

Via: CSMonitor; thanks, Atif, for the tip!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.