November 19, 2014 9:08 pm

Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines Choose Surface Pro 3 for their Pilots

Surface Pro 3 continues to gain momentum in the commercial space, with more and more companies choosing Surface for their businesses. And in turn, we have been working hard to remove more barriers for adopting Surface by ensuring Surface Pro 3 meets certain commercial requirements. We’ve talked about several of these in the past few weeks including announcing: Surface Pro 3 has met necessary criteria for US government customers to buy Surface through GSA; Surface Pro 3 now qualifies for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program; and Surface Pro 3 is qualified for FAA/EASA authorization for commercial airlines.

Where the Surface Pro 3 was designed as a general purpose computing device, the combination of its features, connected cockpit accessory opportunities through partners like NavAero, and its compatibility with a wide-range of aviation-focused apps like Jeppesen makes the Surface Pro 3 well-suited for use in a connected flight deck.

Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines choose Surface Pro 3

Today, we are happy to announce that the Surface Pro 3 family of commercial aviation customers has grown.

Austrian Airlines has already begun rolling out Surface Pro 3s for use as electronic flight bags (EFBs) to their pilots. With 650 already deployed, they expect to deploy up to nearly 1,000 Surface Pro 3s by the end of the year. Additionally, one A320 Aircraft has already been equipped with both Surface Pro 3 devices and navAero connected mounts for a 3 month EFB-operation with paper backup. Once complete and upon approval from the Austrian Civil Aviation Authority, Austrian Airlines will move forward with a completely paperless operation. Austrian plans to equip the whole fleet of about 80 aircraft with mounts to eliminate the paper on board of all their aircraft.

“Starting in the late 1990s with the arrival of the first laptops in the flight deck, the dream of a completely paperless cockpit is now actually becoming a reality thanks to the Surface tablets from Microsoft,” explains Dr. Philipp Haller, B777-Pilot at Austrian Airlines. As Electronic Flight Bag Administrator, Philipp Haller is also leading the current EFB-project and states, “The high performance, the large screen, and the – in comparison – very low weight make the Surface Pro 3 an ideal work instrument for the flight crews. We have been using laptops for 15 years to replace most of the paper on board but they could not be used during takeoff and landing. Thanks to the Surface tablet-based electronic flight bags mounted in the cockpit, that is now possible!”

Austrian Cockpit

Surface Pro 3 tablets mounted in the cockpits of the Austrian Airlines fleet (© Austrian Airlines)

Deutsche Lufthansa AG has purchased more than 5,000 Surface Pro 3 devices for pilots, helping to improve productivity for pilots in the cockpit and on the ground. Device rollout to pilots worldwide will take place in February and the airline projects will reach completion to pilots in all regions where Lufthansa flies by next spring.

Lufthansa Cockpit

Lufthansa pilot with a Surface Pro 3

A connected, efficient cockpit

As we announced this fall, NavAero will build a mount that enables Surface Pro 3 to connect to onboard power and data systems in the cockpit. Not just a paper replacement device, this new solution lets airlines enable a true connected cockpit experience and so much more. These mounts leverage the same single connection found on the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station – allowing Surface Pro 3 to plug directly into the plane’s electronics through a unique interface to provide simultaneous power, data and display connectivity through one simple connection. For pilots, this means added benefits such as automatic updates to navigational and operational content and access to critical real-time information like weather, wind and turbulence data. Pilots can also easily remove their Surface Pro 3 from the mount and use them as their laptop outside the cockpit. We have created a Surface Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) Solution white paper with additional details about the business value of Surface in commercial aviation scenarios that can be downloaded.

We have been clear on Microsoft’s commitment to Surface in business and with this move adopting Surface in their cockpit, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines join the growing number of commercial airlines using Surface Pro 3 to help give their pilots the best, most efficient and productive in-flight experience.

For more information on Surface in business, visit


Cyril Belikoff
Senior Director – Microsoft Surface