Budget airline easyJet will start using drones to carry out inspections of its aircraft in order to speed up routine maintenance.
The airliner said today that its inspection drones will be operated across the firm’s engineering bases in Europe. The firm has completed a trial inspection of one plane using the technology, which delivered satisfying results.
"The use of these emerging technologies frees up our engineering and digital teams to enable them to undertake more skilled tasks, keeping our costs down, which in turn keeps our fares low, helps minimise delays and ensures that we maintain our industry-leading punctuality for our passengers,” said Ian Davies, easyJet's head of engineering.
"Safety is our number one 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."
EasyJet wants to reduce the amount of time aircraft spends grounded after service due to routine inspections that take place after various events including lightning strikes.
As well as drones, easyJet also announced that it will begin trialling the use of 3D printing to replace parts within the cabins of their aircraft. The trial will be used to provide replacement parts such as arm rests, with the airline clarifying that the aim is to reduce the time needed to fit replacements.
EasyJet also confirmed that 3D printers would be used to provide fuel nozzles and fan blades for their next generation of jet engines, which the airline currently has on order.