EasyJet Plc is about to get in on the drone trend, using the flying robots to inspect grounded aircrafts. The idea is to cut the cost of inspections, which is important given the fact that, according to Skift, an overnight delay can cost the airline $23,133. The introduction of drones can also help speed up damage control from lightning strikes and bird strikes and knock down the time aircrafts spend on the ground for repair. The first successful inspection occured at London's Luton Airport earlier this month.
Worried about what this could mean for flight safety? Ian Davies, EasyJet's head of engineering, says it's "our No. 1 priority and so all of these new technologies will be applied by our experienced engineering and flight crew to ensure our leading safety record is maintained." Drone inspections will also help add to incident archives, considering the drones will provide permanent photographic records of each inspected aircraft.
To take the innovation factor even further, the airline is also experimenting with 3D printing replacement parts (think: arm rests and engine parts) for its fleet. EasyJet is Europe’s second-biggest discount airline brand, making these brand updates a strong statement for the efficiency (and budget-saving potential) of 3D printing.
Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.