UPS Pushing its Fleet of Jets Into Digital Information Age
LOUISVILLE, March 8, 2006 - UPS (NYSE:UPS) today announced it would retrofit much of its jet fleet with a computerized display system that will improve safety in the air and on the ground while reducing fuel use and making the pilot’s job easier.
The retrofit program is believed to be the first of its type attempted by any airline, cargo or passenger, “and basically reflects our belief that this technology is ready and should be applied to jets now in service,” said Bob Lekites, vice president, UPS Airline and International Operations.
“This system will support software programs that make available in the cockpit information that today exists only on paper or in the hands of air traffic controllers,” Lekites added. “Ultimately, it will help pilots with navigation and allow them to space their aircraft on their own; call up the most complete and accurate long-range weather maps; warn of potential collisions on the ground; push the maintenance logbook into the digital age, and place the entire flight manual within easy electronic recall.”
The retrofit program, which will begin with 107 B-757 and B-767 aircraft in the UPS fleet, will equip each plane with a Class III Display Device, commonly referred to as a Class III Electronic Flight Bag, manufactured by the Boeing Co. Such advanced electronic systems today are found only on selected business jets and a small number of new passenger airliners. Eight new 747-400 aircraft recently ordered by UPS will be built from scratch with the system.
The Class III Display Device is essentially an information system with two independent computer hard drives coupled to a specially constructed video display. Its Class III rating means it meets the most stringent certification requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration.
In the case of the UPS Airlines, the Class III Display Device actually becomes even more capable than those systems going into the newest jets because UPS already has installed a safety system known as ADS-B - or Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast - in all of its 757 and 767 aircraft. ADS-B operates with the Global Positioning Satellite system to automatically track all similarly equipped aircraft in the air or on the ground. It is the most accurate and reliable aviation tracking system in the world.
While UPS is planning to quickly add a variety of software applications once the devices are installed, it will begin with a program known as SafeRoute developed by Aviation Communication & Surveillance Systems (ACSS) of Phoenix, Ariz., an avionics supplier selected by UPS last summer to participate in the retrofit program. SafeRoute uses ADS-B to provide pilots with enhanced situational awareness during taxi and in flight.
For example, SafeRoute’s “Merging & Spacing” application enables pilots to select more efficient flight paths, reduces holding patterns and allows for more direct flights into key airports, all of which will help reduce fuel consumption, carbon emissions and ambient noise pollution along with airport congestion. During taxi, SafeRoute’s “Surface Area Movement Management” function will provide pilots with display and voice alerts of potential dangers that could result in a runway incursion accident.
In addition to SafeRoute, UPS is continuing to evaluate whether the Class III Display Device can be used for applications such as:
A digital maintenance logbook. Instead of pilots handing paper logbooks noting an equipment discrepancy to mechanics once they land, the device will support an electronic logbook that can transmit the information to maintenance while the plane is en route, reducing the possibility that repairs will cause schedule delays while storing more accurate records.
Using software developed by Boeing and its subsidiary, Jeppesen, as well as hardware from Astronautics Corp. of America (ACA), the device will digitally store vital charts, manuals and documents, giving pilots instant access to the information they need.
With 80 gigabytes of memory, the device also will be used for such things as enhanced electronic checklists; real-time weather information; and real-time Notice To Airmen (NOTAM) information. The so-called graphical satellite weather application will significantly improve the amount of meteorological data available to pilots.
“We are excited to see UPS demonstrating the flexibility of our Class III Display Device by using proven technology for innovative and ground-breaking applications,” said Lou Mancini, vice president and general manager of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services. “UPS is a model customer for the device and its reputation as a leader in both technology and financial rigor represents a strong stamp of approval.”
“ACSS is thrilled to be part of a team tasked with moving the industry forward,” added ACSS President Kris Ganase. “We’re excited to work with Boeing to display SafeRoute information for UPS pilots and bring a higher level of safety while increasing the overall efficiency of their flight operations.”
“We’ve always been committed to operating the safest and most effective airline for the benefit of both our pilots and customers,” concluded Lekites.
UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company and a global leader in supply chain services, offering an extensive range of options for synchronizing the movement of goods, information and funds. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., UPS serves more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. UPS’s stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange (UPS), and the company can be found on the Web at UPS.com.
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Except for historical information contained herein, the statements made in this release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the US Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the US Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of UPS and its management regarding the company’s strategic directions, prospects and future results, involve certain risks and uncertainties. Certain factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including economic and other conditions in the markets in which we operate, governmental regulations, our competitive environment, strikes, work stoppages and slowdowns, increases in aviation and motor fuel prices, cyclical and seasonal fluctuations in our operating results, and other risks discussed in the company’s Form 10-K and other filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which discussions are incorporated herein by reference.
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