airBaltic Ditches Paper Flight Plans While Resuming Non-EU Flights

airBaltic today revealed that it is ditching paper flight plans as part of an effort to increase its sustainability. In the future, these will be provided in digital form through pilot iPads, already in use for other reasons. The news comes as the airline has resumed flights outside of the European Union following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

airbaltic, paper free cockpit, non-eu flights
airBaltic will resume flights outside of the EU tomorrow while cutting paper from the cockpit. Photo: airBaltic

Around the world, airlines are working on initiatives to cut their emissions and increase their sustainability. Yesterday Simple Flying reported that Japan Airlines is to stop issuing paper flight timetables. Now, another airline is taking aim at excess paper usage.

Cutting paper flight plans out

According to airBaltic, the airline has now cut paper flight plans from the cockpit. Pilots had been required to carry briefing packages containing the flight plan, weather information, and other relevant information. They needed to complete forms during the flight and then submit them by hand after arriving back in Riga.

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Now, all such briefings will be found on the pilot’s iPad and can be submitted digitally. Not only does their removal reduce the airline’s paper usage, but it also reduces touchpoints when handing them out and taking them back. airBaltic initially equipped its pilots with iPads back in 2014, removing between 10-15 kilograms of weight from the cockpit. Cabin Crew were equipped with iPads later in 2017.

airbaltic, paper free cockpit, non-eu flights
airBaltic’s pilots have been equipped with iPads since 2014. Photo: airBaltic

Flying outside the European Union

Alongside the announcement cut paper from the cockpit, airBaltic is also due to resume flights outside of the European Union tomorrow. Initially, the airline is set to resume flights to Kyiv, Ukraine. Further flights to Moscow, Tel Aviv, and other destinations are planned to continue at the end of the month on March 28th.

This month, the airline revealed its lowest passenger figures since returning from its COVID flight pause for February 2021. As the airline resumes such flights, its CEO Martin Gauss believes that things will start slowly improving. In an interview with Simple Flying, Gauss commented,

“I think [passenger numbers] are getting slowly, very slowly better because we received permission to fly to third countries again. Outside the EU the local government was restricting [flights] until the 17th. So that, of course, is an improvement because the Riga hub functions also alot through the third countries.”

airBaltic, masks, new normal
Gauss sees traffic beginning to recover once more. Photo: airBaltic

However, it seems as though the airline, and indeed the industry, is still on course for a less than perfect summer. Gauss commented that the uncertainty of individual border restrictions over the summer means that it’s not looking good so far. However, he does see better passenger numbers than the low currently being experienced by the airline.

Gauss believes that things will get back to normal eventually but that this will depend on vaccine levels that are presently lacking behind where they should be.

What do you make of airBaltic’s paperless cockpit and summer flight plans? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!