Numerous airlines around the world have begun to adopt the iPad aboard commercial flights for not only entertainment but as electronic flight bags for pilots to read maps and manuals. Adoption of the iPad on flights began as early as last year when United Airlines deployed 11,000 iPads as electronic flight bags for its pilots.
According to a report from ZDnet, Australian Airline Qantas is looking to introduce an iPad rental program on all of its Boeing 767 flights. Qantas reportedly carried out a trial to test the viability of such a program and deemed it suitable enough to introduce it airline wide.
As of May this year, there were 23 Boeing 767-300 aircraft, according to the Qantas site, each with between 229 and 254 seats, meaning that more than 5,000 iPads would be required to kit out the fleet. However, Qantas said it was currently reviewing retirement options for a few of the aircraft.
The system will roll out to the first aircraft in the fourth quarter of this year. Most of the flights offering the service will be on Australia’s east coast routes, with some also flying to Perth. The service will be free of charge. The airline was still assessing whether it will extend the system so that customers can use their own tablets to access the entertainment.
Qantas, like United Airlines also equipped its pilots with 64GB iPads as electronic flight bags, to simplify numerous paper manuals and maps into one electronic app or file. Qantas has also mentioned that they are looking to move away from Blackberry smartphones and replace them with iPhones.
Apple’s iPhone and iPad have proven to be a viable option for airlines looking to simplify their pilot and entertainment interfaces. Qantas’ choice to move away from outdated entertainment systems will likely benefit both Apple and the airline, which can use the new entertainment platform as a selling point for tickets.