Easyjet looks to burn less fuel with ‘paperless’ planes

EasyJet is set to fly its first 'paperless' plane later this month, a move which could ultimately save the budget airline around half a million dollars in fuel costs alone.

The company will be adopting ‘e-paper’ technology – Panasonic Toughpads – which will replace laptops and printed navigational charts in its aircraft cockpits.

Each aircraft currently carries about 25kg of paper, encompassing forms, checklists and detailed manuals. Easyjet says that removing paper completely will improve efficiency and costs by reducing fuel burn and production, and subsequent distribution to its 24 bases.

According to Easyjet’s head of flight operations, Captain Brian Tyrrell, cost savings will also be made on printing and distributing paper versions of the manuals and forms.

“Eradicating paper, including the cumbersome manuals with thousands of pages on-board, by providing access to the same information via these devices is an important step in reducing weight, but it also means we can improve the speed and efficiency of our communications by remotely saving information and providing crew with up to date information,” he said.

Leading the way

The airline, which operates a fleet of 220 Airbus aircraft, has always scrutinised all aspects of its business to ensure it runs in the most efficient way.

Last year it introduced a raft of measures to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Its pilots led the way by devising and implementing several measures – these included delayed engine starts, continuous descent approach, and minimising use of the auxiliary power unit when on the ground.

The company’s engineers also delivered savings through lighter passenger seats, lighter cabin trolleys and by washing engine compressors regularly. Aerodynamic improvements have also been achieved by installing sharklets, an enlarged wing tip which makes the wing more efficient.

EasyJet says its annual fuel bill is around £1.2bn, but claims its typical passenger carbon footprint is 22% less than a passenger on a traditional airline flying on the same route and aircraft.

Maxine Perella

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