Delta and Jeppesen Partner to Deploy EFB Solutions on Microsoft Surface Tablets

Delta and Jeppesen Partner to Deploy EFB Solutions on Microsoft Surface Tablets

Issue 2

In the summer of 2016, Delta is taking another major step in its move to paperless cockpits, an upgrade to Microsoft’s new Surface 3 tablets, unlocking even more capability in their EFB program. All along, Jeppesen has continued to evolve Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro, bringing more capabilities to the pilot and value to the airline.

At the end of 2014, Delta Air Lines achieved a major goal by deploying 12,000 Windows tablets to all of its pilots. The tablets, driven by Microsoft Windows and featuring Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro 8, represent a significant step forward in Delta’s move toward a paperless cockpit. The project involved an innovative three-way partnership between Delta, Jeppesen and Microsoft, leading to a solution that reduces cockpit workload, creates better situational awareness for pilots, and sets the foundation upon which future innovation, such as real-time information and communications, will become a reality. Most importantly, it enabled Delta to achieve something that airlines always strive for, a way to improve operational efficiency and drive increased profitability. The deployment of the Microsoft Surface tablets loaded with FliteDeck Pro 8 was projected to save the airline $13 million annually in fuel and associated costs alone.

Refining The Entrepreneurial Spirit

After developing the first version of FliteDeck Pro for Windows years ago, an upgrade to Windows 8 for multi-touch tablets was on Jeppesen’s radar from the moment Microsoft announced its new generation of the tablet-optimized Windows operating system. When Delta called with a desire to deploy Microsoft Surface tablets to flight crews and to have Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro featured in the first deployment, both organizations were eager to partner on a new version of this trusted solution. Delta representatives made it clear that they would not compromise on their EFB vision, and Jeppesen was a big part of that vision. 

“Our relationship with Delta has been strong for decades,” said Leo Katigbak, Key Account Manager Boeing Digital Aviation. “When they came to us with this challenge we knew it was the right opportunity at the right time for us. Delta’s recent upgrade to Surface 3 tablets and Windows 10 is yet another chance for us to team with a valued customer to help lead the industry forward.”

To create Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro for the new generation of Windows operating system and tablets, and meeting Delta’s high expectations, Jeppesen knew that this would not be business-as-usual. For starters, it was going to take talented professionals from Jeppesen, Delta, and Microsoft, blended from different countries, cultures and working styles, banded together as one cohesive team. Next, open communication would be critical. Finally, the team discovered and took advantage of the opportunity to leverage the team’s geographic dispersion across many time zones, to efficiently solve problems and keep the project moving forward around-the-clock.

Jeppesen’s approach to creating the product and meeting Delta’s demanding requirements, involved an innovative project approach. The team developed, and stayed true to six key principles while developing FliteDeck Pro 8:

  1. Allow for Different Perspectives—By considering all professional and technical experiences, backgrounds and points of view, the team was able to evaluate options, manage risks and make more informed decisions earlier in the development process.
  2. Encourage Creativity—Consideration was given to multiple ideas, which led to more creative solutions being brought to the forefront, and a better product in the end.
  3. Clearly Define Responsibilities—With a clear understanding of the role for each team member and working group, overlaps were avoided, processes were clarified and efficiencies were incorporated.
  4. Bring Balance to Decision-Making—All key stakeholders for Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro 8 (including Delta) were given a seat at the decision-making table, as well as an equal voice to share insights, raise concerns, and pose questions or challenges.
  5. Collaborate Effectively to Improve Delivery Times—Through collaboration, it became easier to recognize potential issues and schedule risks sooner, and develop creative ways to mitigate such issues and keep the project on track.
  6. Emphasize the Human Experience—From the beginning, the project team carefully observed how Delta pilots engaged with the new technology, and figured out how the application could improve their execution while reducing their effort. The result was a solution where the technology essentially became invisible; delivering instead a valuable aid to the pilot that reduces workload and increases performance.

In the end, these principles enabled the delivery of Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro 8 on time while also making sure Delta was deeply involved and ensuring it included specific functionalities and great design that resulted in an outstanding solution for pilots and the airline. 

The Vision Comes To Life

In addition to reducing pilot workload and creating greater situational awareness for its pilots, Delta estimates that the use of Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro on its Portable EFB delivers these benefits: 

  • Reduction of 38 pounds of weight from each flight kit (paper removal)
  • Savings of 1.2 million gallons of fuel each year (valued at $1.45 million at current market pricing)
  • Removal of 26 million pounds of carbon emissions from the atmosphere (equal to 2,300 cars)
  • Reduction of 7.5 million sheets of paper per year (equal to 900 trees)

According to Katigbak, “The development of Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro 8 made a strong relationship with Delta even stronger. They pushed us hard and it made us better. The teamwork was fantastic.  We appreciate the opportunity Delta provided to us.”

With a great foundation set, Delta and Jeppesen will build on the functionality, efficiency, and safety benefits that Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro has to offer. Upgrades to the Windows Platform, as well as Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro 8, accommodate feature requests from Delta including, for example, electronic dispatch and flight release, access to real-time weather information, up-to-the minute operational information and dynamic communications with ground-based personnel.

Leadership involves vision, focus, exploration, risk-taking and eschewing the familiar. And leadership, done well, is an inspiration. Immediately following Delta’s announcement that its pilots would fly with the Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro on Microsoft Surface tablets, additional airlines joined the path that Delta Air Lines and Jeppesen forged together.

Delta Air Lines’ vision and trust in Jeppesen, along with Jeppesen’s entrepreneurial spirit, created an opportunity for two leaders to, yet again, shape the commercial airline industry in a significant way and open the door for more EFB options and capabilities in the cockpit. 

To learn more about how Jeppesen is helping airlines around the world reduce pilot workload, improve situational awareness and increase airline efficiency and the bottom line, please contact your Jeppesen representative.

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