Microsoft announced this morning that both Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Austrian Airlines have adopted Surface Pro 3 for their pilots. The two airlines join Delta Airlines in using the Microsoft devices as Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) in airline cockpits, replacing heavy packages of important flight documents.
"There is great interest from commercial airlines in this kind of connected EFB solution," Microsoft's Cyril Belikoff writes in a new post to The Surface Blog. "As adoption grows, we have been hard at work to bring together a device, partner accessories and app that could advance this kind of solution for commercial airlines, by creating a connected EFB – allowing pilots to receive real-time information while in-flight."
Microsoft previously announced a major step towards increasing pilot use of Surface Pro 3 back in September when the device was qualified for use as an EFB by both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). At that time, Microsoft also highlighted some third party hardware accessories and software solutions that complete the picture, letting pilots mount Surface Pro 3 in the cockpit and access the real-time information they need.
And now we're seeing more commercial airlines jump on the Surface bandwagon.
Lufthansa has purchased more than 5,000 Surface Pro 3 devices for pilots, Microsoft says. And it will begin rolling out the devices to pilots worldwide starting in February. It expects to complete the rollout by next spring.
Pilots at Austrian Airlines began using Surface Pro 3 this month, the airline says, and it expects to have "completely paperless cockpits" by early 2015. It will rollout almost 1000 Surface Pro 3s over this time period. (And if you're curious, Austrian Airlines has even detailed the exact Surface Pro 3 configuration it's using: It's the mainstream Core i5/4GB RAM/128 GB SSD model.)