Peacock Bros has provided Australia's largest independent regional airline, Regional Express (Rex) with Zebra Road Warrior RW420 portable thermal printers for use in 'flight bags' on board their more than 40 SAAB 340 aircraft.
Rex operates regular regional air services across 35 destinations throughout New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, with more than 40 SAAB 340 aircraft in their fleet. They have also recently commenced phased introductions of the latest generation SAAB 340B-Plus, whilst phasing out the first-generation SAAB 340A aircraft for regular public transport services.
One issue faced with the SAAB aircraft was the lack of inbuilt 'flight bags', an in-cabin computer and printer wirelessly linked to the airport terminal program that calculates the load weight and balance of the aircraft prior to lift-off, as well as other assorted information including expected flight weather and passenger seating.
Without this system, the First Officer is required to leave the plane during a turnaround period to go to the airport terminal, run the program on the computer system, and return with a printout of the information for the next flight.
Purchase of an inbuilt 'flight bag' for any aircraft requires supply and hard-wiring installation, an expensive exercise when it is required for every aircraft in the Rex SAAB fleet. As such, Rex sought an alternative solution that was rugged, reliable, and could remain independently portable and provide at minimum the same level of reports and flight information in compliance to the aviation regulations.
The final solution of flight deck tablet computers, called the SAAB Flight Bags (SFB) was a portable tablet PC with wireless connectivity and Zebra Road Warrior RW420 portable thermal printer for each aircraft. The SFB enables pilots to complete the aircraft weight and balance, flight planning as well as download and print pre-flight briefings via a wireless connection between the tablet PC to the computer program within the terminal. Peacock Bros initially provided the Zebra Road Warrior RW420 portable thermal printers for testing back in 2007 and now they are in use in approximately 40 SAAB aircraft.
This solution complies with all avation rules and regulations and has increased efficiency between flights by eliminating the need for the First Officer to travel to the terminal. This portable computing and printing solution can be applied within any aircraft to reduce operational costs and capital expenditure while still complying with aviaton regulations.
"We engaged in this project to improve on-time performance of our airline for our customers,” says Mayooran Thanabalasingam, Rex General Manager of IT & Communications.
“The result was a reliable and easy to use solution that reduced the amount of time required to complete mandatory tasks between flights. Customers can now expect even more reliable flight times and better customer service. The Zebra portable thermal printers are robust, rugged and compact at a very reasonable price. We are very happy with Peacock Bros. who willingly gave us evaluation and test units to trial and develop the application before committing to the final solution,” adds Thanabalasingam.
Peacock Bros. is a premium partner for Zebra Technologies providing sales and service support for the full range of thermal printer solutions.