Delta Air Lines has decided to jump on Microsoft's Surface bandwagon.
Delta will deploy the Surface 2 to 11,000 pilots by the end of 2014, the airline and Microsoft announced Monday. The airline will equip Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 pilots with the Surface 2 later this year, and will roll it out to all other cockpits by the end of 2014.
Rather than opt for the Surface 2 Pro, Delta has decided to invest in the Windows RT-based Surface 2. The slates will run on Windows RT 8.1 and come with apps the pilots need to complete their jobs, including carts, reference documents, and checklists, Microsoft said. Delta expects to save $13 million per year in fuel and other costs by using the Surface 2.
For Microsoft, the adoption of the Surface 2, in large numbers, for use by pilots is surely a significant customer win. For Delta, the move is a chance to applaud some expected cost savings -- the airline says use of the tablets will allow it to cut 7.5 million sheets of paper per year and reduce fuel consumption by 1.2 million gallons annually.
Before Delta can use the Surface 2 for all phases of the flight process, the company needs to get Federal Aviation Administration approval. According to Microsoft, Delta expects to receive full approval from the FAA to use the Surface 2 on all devices and flight phases sometime next year.