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Iberia Airlines tackles tough conditions with ruggedized tablets

by Michael Singer

July 22 2013

Iberia’s T4 hub is the world’s first airport terminal to use mobile devices for most ramp services.
Iberia’s T4 hub is the world’s first airport terminal to use mobile devices for most ramp services.

Spain’s largest air carrier has deployed ruggedized tablets to its service crews in a move that allows them to improve on-time performance and efficiency in all sorts of weather conditions.

At Terminal 4 in Spain’s Madrid-Barajas Airport, Iberia Airlines crew members can be seen performing their various tasks and safety checks using customized Panasonic Toughpad devices.

Instead of using clipboards or laptops, workers get their assignments and get real-time updates while providing aircraft maintenance; baggage handling including loading and unloading, sorting, and delivery; and refuelling and inspection of ground equipment. Crews use the tablets even while de-icing the planes during the winter months, something off-the-shelf tablets are less likely to endure.

The tablet rollout, which began in May 2013, is part of the company’s overall plan to upgrade its Terminal 4 or T4 airport hub. The project is a collaboration between the airline and Spain’s airport authority (AENA).

The tablet deployment is designed to boost the punctuality of the more than 600 flights the Spanish airline operates each day at Madrid-Barajas airport.

Not just a paper replacement

For Iberia, the benefits of using these devices aren’t just the elimination of paper. The airline says the tablets are beneficial for supplying real-time information about all processes. This allows the T4 managers to anticipate developing issues such as unscheduled maintenance or weather changes.

The result is a crew that completes tasks quicker and allows planes to improve on-time performance. Iberia’s T4 hub is also now the world’s first airport terminal to use mobile devices for most of its airplane services.

The company said it chose Panasonic tablets because the shock-proof, weather-proof devices with high-visibility displays were best suited for use in the airport environment.

Additionally, Iberia developed advanced software applications that can be accessed from the Panasonic tablets. The tablet software helps the coordination of all tasks needed to prepare an aircraft for take-off such as refuelling, loading meals, and cargo.

(How organizations should select the best tablet devices - including rugged tablets - will be discussed at a panel at TabletBiz conference & expo on November 13 in New York City.)

Michael Singer is the Business Editor for TabTimes

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  • MichaelWmDenis
    9 months 5 days ago

    AA has deployed android tablets to their line maintenance organization and flight attendants. The cost of "ruggedized" tablets vs the cost / loss rate of normal tablets isn't, in my opinon, justified.

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