In one of my earlier blogs, I had broached the matter of how inflight entertainment is undergoing transformation. Here I am going to examine how a sound inflight entertainment strategy can reduce millions of dollars in costs for Airlines. For purposes of our discussions here, I am going to classify both the inflight magazines and seatback screens as components of inflight entertainment.
Fuel costs are one of the three major costs for an airline, with labor expenses and the aircraft maintenance being the other two. IATA predicts that fuel cost would be 34% of the average operating costs
One of the most prominent ways to reduce fuel usage is by reduction in the weight carried by the aircraft. American Airlines claims that replacing their pilot's 'electronic flight bags' that weigh 35 pounds with iPads will save the airline about $1.2M across all of its planes annually
Weight of two iPads (one for redundancy) = 3 pounds (approximately)
Weight savings achieved = 35 - 3 = 32 pounds
Therefore, the annual cost savings / pound of weight as estimated by AA = $(1.2M / 32) = $37,500
Hence, reduction in weight carried by an aircraft has huge potential savings in fuel costs.
2. Inflight Magazines
As part of this document, we analyze the cost reductions that can be achieved by reducing the weight of In-Flight magazines carried on aircrafts. With advancements in digital technology, it is now possible for airlines to consider having their In-flight magazines in digital formats that can be read using Kindle, iPads, Galaxy tabs, etc. An In-flight magazine weighs about 1.1 pound, and this is at the lower end of the spectrum. Some In-flight magazines weigh close to 4 pounds.
Considering an aircraft of 200 seats, the total weight of In-flight magazine will total up to 220pounds. The weight of a Samsung Galaxy tab 3 is 0.66 pounds. If all the magazines are replaced with tabs in the aircraft, the calculations will look like:
Figure 1: Docking Options for iPads
Number of Seats on the aircraft = 200
Total weight of In-flight magazines = 220 pounds
Total weight of 200 Galaxy tablets = 132 pounds
Weight Difference gained by replacing In-flight magazines by Galaxy tabs = 88 pounds
If 1 pound saves $37,400, 88 pounds weight reduction will save, (40*37,500) = $3.3Million annually
Digitizing the magazines and other in-flight paper items like duty free catalogues, meal catalogues etc. has various other advantages such as
· Easy updates/corrections to the content
· Ability to search for the required information
· Change of font size to aid viewing
· Recommendations for content relevant to the ones being consumed by the user etc.
· Multilingual support
· Offline and online browsing
· Environmental benefits of saving paper
· Cost savings in reduction of distribution logistics
3. Inflight Entertainment Systems
Additionally, the tablets can replace existing In Flight Entertainment (IFE) devices from the aircraft and this will add to increased weight savings (Replacing the wired infrastructure for IFE's with wireless tablets will contribute to further weight savings, but we can consider that to be zero to keep the calculation simple). An IFE system such as Panasonic's eXLite can weigh 3.2 pounds on the lower end of the spectrum
Removing 200 IFE's from the aircraft will save 640 pounds of weight
This will save the airline, 640 * 37,500 = $24 Million annually
In conclusion, potential savings up to US$27.3 million are possible with these simple changes.
Airlines should take a fresh look at the dead weight in their cabins that can be optimised with the help of the 'Always Connected, Always ON' passenger of today. FAA's permission for use of personal devices throughout their journey is further impetus to this initiative.
Disclosure: Infosys DigitizeEdge helps airlines convert their hardcopy content into digital content with minimal effort and render it directly through a personalised exeprience zone on the consumer device