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Airline replaces in-flight entertainment units with iPads

Qantas is planning to put an iPad on every seat of its aircraft to save money and increase productivity

Apple’s iOS devices are proving to be extremely popular with Australian airline Qantas, which has now announced that it will be replacing its in-flight entertainment units with iPads.

iTnews reports that Qantas’ decision to implement iPads in its aeroplanes was made following a trial in February, which received “extremely positive” feedback. The trial saw every seat on Qantas’ B767 aircrafts get an iPad programmed to provide passengers with access to more than 200 hours of television and audio.

Chief Executive of Qantas Alan Joyce said that using the iPad as an alternative to expensive in-flight entertainment systems is an “amazing opportunity” for the company to cut costs and boost productivity.

The airline will put Apple’s tablet in all 23 of its Boeing 757 planes, making a total of 5842 iPads.

Qantas has partnered with Panasonic to stream content wirelessly to the iPads from a central storage unit on the plane.

“We’re not looking at ways to evolve this technology platform even further with our partner Panasonic to bring new standards of in-flight entertainment to our customers,” said Qantas Domestic CEO Lyell Strambi in a statement. This could include the addition of internet access, live television, and the ability to order food, drinks and duty-free goods via the iPad.

Passengers that own an iPad, laptop or smartphone will be able to view the same content through a separate application, but it is unclear when this feature will be introduced.

“In terms of future costs, future development, it’s huge,” said Joyce, suggesting that mobile devices could mean “a huge saving and increase in productivity for us.”

Qantas has already announced that it will be providing its pilots with iPads for use during flights, and has decided to replace its 1,300 company issued Blackberry devices with Apple’s iPhone.