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Scoot Pte switches aircraft to iPads to drop fuel costs

updated 02:58 pm EDT, Mon June 4, 2012

Planes previously used two tons of in-flight entertainment systems

Singapore-based airline Scoot Pte has switched to iPads for in-flight entertainment in order to save fuel, Bloomberg notes. The company's CEO, Campbell Wilson, claims that the move cut off about 7 percent of the weight from planes received from Scoot's parent company, Singapore Airlines. This is despite increasing seating in the planes by 40 percent.

Using conventional entertainment systems contributed in excess of two tons to the weight of each plane. Fuel economy is the "number one worry" for airlines, according to Wilson, since gas represents at least 40 percent of expenses. While business travelers on Scoot get to borrow an iPads for free, economy-class passengers must pay S$22 -- roughly $17 US -- for the same privilege.

Each iPad comes preloaded with movies, music, games, and TV shows. Eventually, however, Scoot says it will move content access to a onboard Wi-Fi network.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad numbers

    The press release for this seems to have been written by someone in the marketing department who's clueless about numbers. Two tons of entertainment gear and wiring would be 7% of an aircraft's weight only if it weighed about 30 tons (60,000 pounds). Commercial aircraft weigh about five to ten times that.

  1. FavFruit

    Joined: Dec 1969


    95000 pounds....

    According to Boeing, that's the weight of their 747-400, so 30 tons (unladen) sounds about right no?

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Two tons of entertainment

    What they did *not mention* was they were using live bands for entertainment. The backup singers alone were a ton of fun.

  1. eclux

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Prop planes have internal combustion engines, which use gasoline. Jets burn kerosene. If "gas" makes up 40% of their expenses, someone is filling a lot of autos on the sly.

  1. tmurray

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Big savings

    They fly 777's which have a takeoff weight of about 500,000lbs or around 225 tons.

  1. FavFruit

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Curse the internet..

    Looks like somebody forgot a zero...the maximum take off weight of a 747 is around 875000 pounds, so Inkling was right on the money...;-)

  1. Makosuke

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad Quote, not Bad Numbers

    I'm guessing the mistake here isn't in the calculation, it's in the quote. If you read the original, it paraphrases the CEO as saying "The tablets HELPED the carrier cut 7 percent off the weight of planes obtained from parent Singapore Airlines Ltd..."

    Note the use of the word "helped" in there--that implies that they also did other things to reduce the weight of the planes, of which the 2 tons of entertainment hardware was only one factor.

    The MacNN repost assumed that the iPads were solely responsible for the weight reduction, which obviously can't be true if they really did shave 7% of the weight of the planes.

    Aside: This'll also probably drastically improve the customer experience. I was on one of Airbus' flagship A380s, and while the in-flight entertainment experience in economy was way better than the "one big screen and some radio" in a 747, and a significant step up from the 777's primitive in-seat offerings, it was also one of the worst UI experiences I've ever had. My aisle may have been malfunctioning, but the software was practically unusable--the lag was horrendous, made worse by the fact that touches made during the lag registered after an update, and there were egregious bugs like a complete inability to pause a video and then resume it. As a software engineer, I wouldn't have called that beta quality, and would have been utterly ashamed to ship a production system with it.

    I wonder how an iPad's cost lines up with the screen, controls, and under-seat device in an aircraft.

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