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Operational evaluation begins for Cathay Pacific’s innovative eEnabled aircraft solution

Cathay Pacific is set to become one of the world’s leading airlines in terms of employing innovative, full-time, global air-ground multi-channel data communications on its aircraft. This has been made possible through its groundbreaking eEnabled Aircraft programme which entered into Operational Evaluation on 1 July.

Over the course of the next six months the airline, in conjunction with the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD), will conduct a formal evaluation of the operability of its Class 3 Electronic Flight Bags and Electronic Techlog systems. The eEnabled technology will be evaluated in three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, two from 1 July and a third from 5 July. 

A successful evaluation will lead to HKCAD granting operational approval for the technology to be used in place of paper documents in this aircraft type. The airline will continue to roll out the eEnabled system across its fleet of Boeing 777-aircraft, Airbus A330 passenger aircraft and Boeing 747 freighter aircraft. The A330s and A320/1s in the passenger fleet of Group airline Dragonair will also have the new technology installed progressively.

The Cathay Pacific eEnabled Aircraft solution is an advanced system in terms of connectivity and integration with ground systems. Through its avionics-class EFB devices installed in the flight deck and cabin, the solution provides a comprehensive, integrated electronic information exchange, which will replace existing manual processes to record, manage and distribute information for flight operations, line maintenance engineering and cabin defect management.  

The system also provides connectivity to Cabin Tablet devices which give the cabin crew access to information essential to the provision of passenger services.

The eEnabled Aircraft solution will bring many benefits to the airline, including:

-         Improving the speed, accuracy, deployment and presentation of information between the aircraft and ground infrastructure, enabling improvements to operational efficiency, maintenance effectiveness and service delivery.

-         Enabling pilots to determine precise fuel requirements and the potential for increased payload for each flight.

-         Reducing the environmental impact of producing, distributing and disposing of operations manuals and charts and decreasing the weight of carrying these on the aircraft.

-         Enabling earlier preparation and faster action by ground engineers, with less time spent retrieving and analysing information from paper technical and cabin logs.

Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer Rupert Hogg said: “Our teams have put a great deal of time and effort into developing this advanced eEnabled aircraft solution and it is now very exciting to see it move into the Operational Evaluation phase. This initiative will result in a number of far-reaching benefits for Cathay Pacific and Dragonair. Being able to connect airborne systems to information technology systems employed on the ground in real time will result in improved operational efficiency and increased maintenance effectiveness, together with a number of exciting service enhancements.”

Cathay Pacific has developed its eEnabled Aircraft system in collaboration with a number of key technology partners, including Rockwell Collins/ARINC, DAC, Ritec, Navtech, Miltope, ICG, USI and Ballard Technology.

The new technology has already been tested in a pre-evaluation phase in May/early June that gave flight crew, cabin crew and ground engineers the chance to become familiar with the equipment and help address any user issues before the commencement of the formal Operational Evaluation.

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