Highlights from the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) Users Forum 2023
Our teams recently attended the EFB Users Forum, held in Prague from November 7-9, 2023. This event has been a hub for aviation professionals since 2010, facilitating collaboration and innovation in Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solutions.
Organized by ARINC Industry Activities, a program dedicated to establishing aviation technical standards, the forum united professionals from airlines, hardware and software suppliers, aviation authorities, and more. It was a great opportunity to attend conferences, stroll through the suppliers’ expo, discuss airlines’ difficulties and needs, and discover the latest developments and solutions that contribute to shaping the future of EFB.
In this article, we compile the key highlights from the forum, ranging from the huge potential of EFB solutions to the necessity of aligning solutions with the operational reality. We also explore the role of quality data in decision-making and the potential unlocked by Aircraft Interface Devices (AIDs). Finally, we share the field insights from Philippine Airlines, who trialed an EFB app helping them fly more direct routes, save fuel and money, and cut their CO2 emissions.
Let’s dive into all of that!
Exploring the potential of EFB solutions
The potential of EFB solutions is huge and covers a very broad scope. The days when EFB solutions were just replacing paper and streamlining the back-office operations of airlines are long gone. EFB solutions are now enhancing safety, by giving pilots more situational awareness. This includes information on weather, turbulences, airspace status, traffic, and other relevant details specific to their flight.
EFB solutions also contribute to improving passenger experience as decisions made by pilots and airlines become more informed. This leads to smoother flights, reduced delays, and fewer missed connections.
Furthermore, EFB solutions now play a key role in optimizing costs, promoting fuel efficiency, and advancing sustainability through in-flight optimization and assistance. These features suggest beneficial actions to the pilot, based on each flight’s specific situation.
Adapting EFB solutions to operational realities
Pilots are the end-users of EFB solutions. Whether preparing for operations or during the flight, their schedules are packed with numerous tasks and information to process. Given their tight schedules, pilots cannot afford to waste time. This means EFB solutions must be carefully tailored to fit into pilots' workflow and to limit their workload as much as possible.
Airlines and solution providers must develop solutions that align with these operational needs to have an impact and adapt to the complex reality of operations. Many demos, presentations, and discussions from the forum focused on the latest developments to tailor solutions to fit into the pilot workflow, by providing the right information at the right time in the right way.
For example, there is a clear movement towards integration with the incorporation of additional data into existing applications. Furthermore, more apps are now working together and connecting with each other. This means that one app can feed information into another or open it in a relevant context, moving towards a more interconnected technological landscape.
Data as the foundation for informed decisions
The forum also highlighted one more time the importance of good data as a base for good decisions. Indeed, various elements in the environment, such as weather, turbulence, airspace status, airport conditions, and more, undergo constant changes across time and space. Therefore, the relevance, quality, and freshness of the data remained a central theme throughout this year's EFB Forum.
The challenge of connecting AIDs
A major focus of the forum discussions was on Aircraft Interface Devices (AIDs), hardware that connects Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) to aircraft systems, offering various benefits:
- AIDs provide direct access to flight information that can be used directly by EFB solutions, reducing pilots' workload by eliminating manual input and improving even further real-time assistance from solutions like SkyBreathe® OnBoard.
- AIDs also act as gateways to all the connectivity channels of the aircraft and the ones of the AID itself. As such, it can help break silos between the flight deck and the ground, allowing data updates while in flight.
Despite these advantages, the main challenge discussed during the forum was the difficulty airline professionals face in justifying the cost of equipping their fleets with AIDs. Airline participants massively reported that building a convincing business case is tough because many existing EFB solutions on the market don't show direct financial savings or are not able to measure them. Solutions like SkyBreathe® OnBoard are seen as potential game-changers, helping airlines confidently adopt AIDs without any financial risk.
EFB trial feedback from Philippine Airlines
The forum finally featured an insightful presentation by Captain Anthony Paul A. Go from our valued customer, Philippine Airlines. They recently trialed and evaluated the SkyBreathe® OnBoard EFB application and are still currently using it in their operations. The solution provides real-time support for pilots to fly more direct routes, lower fuel burn, and reduce CO2 emissions.
Captain Anthony Paul A. Go discussed the airline’s experience, lessons learned, and the savings achieved. He highlighted the trial's primary focus on measuring these savings, to the extent that Philippine Airlines is now able to build a strong and trusted business case.
The presentation triggered a lot of discussions from airline participants on the best ways to engage pilots in such a project and build adoption for new solutions like SkyBreathe® OnBoard.
Let's meet at the EFB Users Forum 2024!
That’s it for the highlights of the EFB Users Forum 2023! Again, it was a great opportunity for all participants to meet with peers and other stakeholders. The next edition of the EFB Users Forum will be in spring 2024, in Dallas, Texas, USA. We look forward to it and hopefully seeing you there. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to discuss this topic further with our team.
[CASE STUDY] See how Philippine Airlines uses intelligent data to improve fuel efficiency.