ERA director general Mike Ambrose believes that airlines both big and small will need to offer some form of connectivity to passengers within the next five years, including the intra-European operators that comprise ERA membership.
Speaking to Runway Girl at the ERA General Assembly in Rome, Ambrose said innovation in the cockpit will help drive equipage.
Key quote from Ambrose:
“What’s happening now? Some guys are saying, ‘to hell with [paper], we’ll just give guys [pilots] an iPad. It’s got all the flight bag in it. I don’t know whether you bought a new car recently with a navigation system in it. You probably paid 2,000 Euro for a navigation system built into the car. [But] you can go out and buy a 140 Euro TomTom that does actually more than your navigation system in the car because TomTom provides web upgrades and that’s what’s happening with the use of the iPad. So I see that we’re going to be putting lower cost [connectivity] systems in to allow people to carry on working. But it won’t be fancy things. It will be the connectivity is there if you’ve got the piece of equipment [your own PED].”
But many ERA members are not yet convinced they will require even basic connectivity (the non-fancy stuff).
Bern-based SkyWork Airlines is among the more forward thinking amongst its European peers in terms of in-flight entertainment. The carrier currently distributes iPads – for free! – to passengers. “It’s first come, first serve,” said SkyWork CEO Tomislav Lang.
But will you eventually connect the iPads, I insisted? “No, no, that is not intended to be done,” said Lang.
More on this topic later!!