With iPads, paper no longer flies for United

Following the FAA’s OK of using the iPad instead of paper manuals and charts, United (s ual) is getting on board. On Tuesday the airline announced that it is ordering 11,000 iPads (s aapl) for its pilots to use in the cockpit. Each iPad will be loaded with navigation and terminal chart apps from Jeppesen Mobile FliteDeck.

Besides the convenience of fewer books and pieces of paper floating around, United says the cost and efficiency of flying will be affected for the better too. The normal 38 pounds of paper flight manuals, charts, reference handbooks, checklists, log books and weather info will be bumped in favor of a 1.5-pound iPad, which should severely lighten pilots’ load. All told that’s 12,000 sheets of paper per pilot that United will no longer be ordering, the airline says.

As a result, United says it will reduce fuel consumption too:

The airline projects EFBs will save nearly 16 million sheets of paper a year which is equivalent to more than 1,900 trees not cut down. Saving 326,000 gallons of jet fuel a year reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 3,208 metric tons.

So with all that extra weight reduced and fuel saved, does that mean it will start charging less for passenger baggage fees? That’s probably wishful thinking.

We’ll be talking a lot more about how the iPad and other tablets are changing the enterprise at our Mobilize event in San Francisco next month.

Image courtesy of Flickr user adpowers