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For Business
October 1, 2015

SkyWest, Inc. chooses Surface and Windows 10 over iPad for 7,500 pilots

Surface 3 – the newest member of the Surface family – was released in May, and we are very excited to see that it is following in the footsteps of the very successful Surface Pro 3. Like its sibling, Surface 3 is opening up new opportunities across many industries.

ExpressJet Pilot Surface 3

Our business customers tell us they’re choosing Surface 3 because it is the thinnest, lightest tablet we’ve ever made – but also has all the functionality of a full PC with a kickstand, a click-in keyboard and running Windows 10.

Early customers including BASF, Emirates and Prada have already chosen Surface 3 and we’re excited about the interest we’ve seen from many others. Beyond commercial industries, Surface 3 has also been adopted in K-12 education including schools like the Sarasota County School District in the U.S. as well as Broadclyst Primary School and Wymondham Academy in the UK. And in higher education, institutions including the ROC of Amsterdam, the Ministry of Education Luxembourg and Hillcrest Christian College in Australia have selected Surface for their faculty and students.

Today we are excited to share two airlines have joined the Surface family. SkyWest, Inc. is currently deploying Surface 3 running Windows 10 Professional to 7,500 pilots at its ExpressJet Airlines and SkyWest Airlines subsidiaries. In addition, we have pre-qualified Surface 3 to simplify the process for airlines to seek Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) authorization from the FAA and EASA.

expressjet aircraft

SkyWest, Inc. to empower its pilots and reduce environmental impact with Surface 3 and Windows 10

Customers of all sizes have started to voice their support and plans to adopt Windows 10 in their businesses, including SkyWest, Inc. who is currently in early deployment of Windows 10 on Surface 3 across its airline fleet, starting first with 3,200 ExpressJet pilots flying today with the new technology.

SkyWest, Inc. is deploying Surface 3 to replace heavy paper-based flight kits containing navigational charts, and aircraft operating and reference manuals. SkyWest, Inc. committed to standardizing their Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) for ExpressJet and SkyWest pilots on Surface 3. At only 1.3lbs, Surface 3 can distill a heavy flight bag into a portable, powerful device while offering simplified management and security via Intune.

Jim Jensen, Vice President of Information Technology at SkyWest, Inc. shared, “Windows 10 on Surface 3 provides the security and management we need in a highly regulated environment. We made the decision early to use Windows 10 and deploy it immediately. Today, it is the most secure platform from Microsoft and we didn’t see a need to wait.”

Brad Sheehan, Vice President of Flight Operations, ExpressJet Airlines, added, “ExpressJet is proud to give our pilots the best technology available for our electronic flight bags, and we’re honored to be the first airline to deploy Windows 10 on Surface 3 for our 3,200 pilots.”

Capt. Brian Harris, ExpressJet Airlines, added, “The Surface 3 EFBs have been great for our pilot group. They’re easier to use than paper charts, provide up-to-date information and offer other tools that support our operation. I use it at home, too, which is a great perk and lets me get things done between flights.”

Businesses of all sizes can join SkyWest and take full advantage of Windows 10 features on Surface including protection against modern cyber threats, streamlined IT management and improved productivity with Continuum. We’re encouraging businesses to start evaluating, piloting and deploying Windows 10 today. IT administrators can test their business applications and start their deployment planning now. See the Windows for your Business blog for more details.

Surface 3 now pre-qualified for FAA authorization

Surface is committed to the commercial aviation industry and we are continuing efforts to make it easier for commercial airlines to adopt Surface tablets.  We’re happy to announce today that Surface 3 has been pre-qualified for airlines to seek authorization from both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for use as an EFB during all phases of flight. Through a rigorous evaluation process, Surface 3 has completed environmental and situational testing. Now, when airlines look to select the feature-rich Surface 3 for their EFB initiatives, deployment timelines will be significantly decreased, and the device itself may be used to its full computing potential, versus serving just as a simple document reader.

Surface now the tablet of choice for more airlines than ever before

In the past we’ve talked about how the aviation industry is embracing Surface.

Austrian Airlines was the first airline to adopt Surface Pro 3 for their Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) across their entire fleet and their over 1000 pilots, helping to save costs associated with paper charts and lighten the load on each aircraft by about 35 – 45 lbs per crew member, which also saves on fuel costs.

“When we designed the applications for use on Surface Pro 3, we really wanted to take advantage of the touch capabilities,” said Capt. Philipp Haller, Austrian Airlines head of Operational IT and EFB Administration. “This application design and touch capability will help to make our flights more efficient and more safe.”

There are many more examples. Brussels Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Emirates and Lufthansa are among the leaders in commercial aviation choosing Surface tablets. And not just in the cockpit for flight operations – Brussels Airlines has even started using Surface Pro 3 to create a differentiated guest lounge experience, allowing their guests to borrow a Surface tablet between flights to access critical travel information and provide entertainment offerings to their most valued passengers.

For those interested in learning more about the business value that Surface can bring to commercial airlines and their business modernization efforts, we have created a Surface Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) Solution white paper.

The warm reception Surface is receiving from our customers in the commercial aviation sector is exciting to see. Surface is increasingly becoming the device of choice for airlines to help give their pilots and passengers the best, most efficient and productive in-flight experience. We’re inspired to continue to work with our business customers across all sectors to open up new opportunities and find better ways to get things done with Surface.

For more information on Surface in business, visit


Cyril Belikoff Senior Director – Microsoft Surface