Boeing [NYSE: BA] and UPS today said that the world's largest package delivery company will retrofit 107 of its Boeing 757s and 767s with Boeing's Class 3 Electronic Flight Bag (EFB).
In addition, EFB will be installed on eight new 747-400 freighters ordered last year by UPS and slated for delivery beginning in 2007. The installation of Boeing's EFB will put UPS at the forefront of global freight-delivery companies in its use of cutting-edge technology.
EFB is a core technology of Boeing's vision of an e-Enabled air transport system, where data, information and knowledge can be shared instantly across an air-transport enterprise. Using software developed by Boeing and its subsidiary, Jeppesen, as well as hardware from Astronautics Corp. of America (ACA), Boeing's Class 3 EFB digitally delivers vital charts, manuals and documents, giving pilots instant access to the information they need. Boeing's EFB can also offer improved communication between an airplane flight deck crew and airline maintenance teams, which supports timely repairs of planes and helps reduce unscheduled repairs.
Rising airplane fuel costs helped motivate UPS to become the launch customer for the Boeing Class 3 EFB in the United States, as well as the launch customer for the Boeing Class 3 EFB on 757s and 767s. UPS has been exploring EFB as a tool to help materially streamline its operations into and out of key airports. In a simple but elegant use of the Electronic Flight Bag, UPS will map more efficient flight paths for its fleet, reducing the need for holding patterns and cutting flight times.
"In today's world of rising fuel prices, it's more critical than ever to operate efficiently," said UPS Airline and International Operations Vice President Bob Lekites. "Implementing this system is just one of the many ways UPS uses technology to conserve fuel, which benefits both customers and the environment."
"We are excited to see UPS demonstrating the flexibility of our Electronic Flight Bag by using proven technology for innovative and ground-breaking applications," said Lou Mancini, vice president and general manager of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services. "UPS is a model customer for the Electronic Flight Bag, and its reputation as a leader in both technology and financial rigor represents a strong stamp of approval."
Installation of a multi-functional EFB is only part of what the Boeing team provides the airline. Jeppesen is focused on ensuring that the receiving airline has the infrastructure, training, systems and ability to develop additional content to take full advantage of the EFB capabilities and reap the benefits of a paperless cockpit. These are among the items critical to a successful EFB implementation, and together represent a competitive advantage for Boeing in discussing the Class 3 EFB with potential customers.
UPS is working with ACSS of Phoenix, Ariz., to develop SafeRoute(tm), a set of ADS-B-based software applications. UPS will use the Boeing EFB to display the SafeRoute information, which will help UPS reduce airplane emissions and noise pollution, improve fuel efficiency, expand airport capacity, and improve airport safety on the ground.
"We have come together as a team to move the industry forward," said ACSS President Kris Ganase. "We're excited to work with Boeing to display SafeRoute information for UPS pilots and help provide fuel savings, reduced emissions, noise abatement and improved flight safety."
UPS intends to use the EFB to display one application of SafeRoute that provides flight crews with an airport surface map, tracking the movements of their aircraft and other ground and airborne traffic in the terminal area while alerting crews to potential conflicts. This application delivers enhanced situational awareness and reduces the possibility of runway incursions.
With 80 Gigabytes of available memory, the Boeing Class 3 EFB provides plenty of room for new applications as well, such as enhanced fault reporting; enhanced electronic checklists; real-time weather information; and real-time Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) information. In addition, the open-architecture design of the Class 3 EFB and its integration into the airplane's larger systems give it unmatched potential for Boeing, airlines and even third-party software designers to create even more exciting applications.