The technological leap that the airline has just taken won’t be noticed by passengers or those who don’t deal directly with the flight area. But the fact is that at the end of each year, Azores Airlines will have removed around 51kg of paper manuals from its airplanes; it will have achieved a reduction in fuel consumption of around 50 tonnes per year; it will have reduced CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by 165,500 kg; and will have stopped printing around 500 thousand sheets of A4 paper. In total, this progression represents a decisive step in improving environmental and ecological impact, an initiative fully aligned with the company’s strategy.
It’s called the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). In a very short way, it means that Azores Airlines will replace several mandatory flight manuals on paper by using Flysmart+, a digital solution delivered by NAVBLUE, an AIRBUS company, which naturally ensures the updating of all manuals on board and optimizes the aircraft performance computation.
The process may sound simple, but in aviation nothing is as simple as it may seem. It took a lot of hard work with NAVBLUE and an equally long accreditation process to reach yesterday, when the Azores Airlines crew carried out the first test flight, between Lisbon and Ponta Delgada, using the new functionality.
The Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) is a technological resource that is now used by technical crews in the cockpit, but which has a global impact on the entire flight operation.
Despite the success of this first stage, operating with this system requires a mandatory test period that now begins and will last for the next six months.
This is a project of great importance in the company’s air operation, as it represents a technological leap inflight management and optimization, with real gains in the performance calculations of the airline’s fleet operation. In addition, consumption decrease and consequent reduction in CO2 emissions also result in increased levels of safety, through the ergonomics of pilots’ access to operational information, especially in critical phases of the flight.
Azores Airlines will be the first airline in Portugal to use the AIRBUS/NAVBLUE Electronic Quick Reference Handbook (eQRH), an application recently added to the EFB that replaces the traditional paper checklists (list of mandatory procedures), presenting them dynamically and sequentially, according to the phase of the flight.
The scope of the EFB project will not be limited to the cockpit, as it integrates a technological space onboard in which increasingly information management, associated with active and real-time communications, allow choices and options that make the difference in a dynamic and competitive situation, where small optimizations can translate into significant gains.
By the way, the Electronic Flight Bag was implemented at SATA Air Açores with the definitive transition to paperless flights, being one of the first airlines in Europe to complete this complex process towards the continuous optimization, simplification, and modernization of its operation and associated procedures.
Featured photo by Captain Vitor Lopes