American Airlines adds iPads to its entire fleet

It is typically a good thing to be the first business to roll out a particular innovation. A company can grab some headlines, improve operations before the competition and be seen as a leader in their specific industry. That is just what is happening to American Airlines as it became the first major commercial airline to add tablets to its entire fleet.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the program started back in September when the company became the first to win regulatory approval to use iPads for reference material while in the air. In April, it started testing out the tablets on select Boeing 757 and 767 flights.

The devices replace the 35-pound flight bags that hold the reference materials and manuals every pilot must carry. By adding the iPads to every cockpit, the program eliminates 24 million pages of paper. Getting rid of the bulky paper is not only saving the airline on printing and ink costs, but also on fuel. This is because losing the extra weight will save 400,000 gallons of fuel a year which amounts to $1.2 million.

"Our focus on technological improvement throughout our operation has never been stronger as we continue to build the new American," Patrick O'Keeffe, American's vice president of airline operations technology, said in a statement.

This is not the only place tablets are making an impact in the sky. Several smaller airlines have followed suit, and American is also testing out the use of the devices for stewardess to be able to easily pull up customer and flight information. That is still pending FAA approval.

The iPad is changing air travel and offering savings in a number of different ways. Every company can experience a similar effect on funds by partnering with an IT consulting agency that specializes in an iPad deployment.