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iPads to replace TVs on planes?

iPads to replace TVs on planes?

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Singapore Airline Scoot has removed its aircraft entertainment systems and instead is offering fliers the option of renting iPads.

What happens when you rip out the entertainment features of a Boeing 777 and instead use mobile devices to keep adults and children alike from getting bored?

We've just found out. Singapore Airline Scoot has removed all of its aircraft entertainment systems and instead is offering fliers the option of renting iPads on their trip.

Singapore Airlines Ltd, the parent company, affirmed the decision and pushed ahead with stripping out the planes along with other changes.

The result? A decrease in the overall weight of the planes by seven percent, which rolled out across all of their aircraft will save a huge amount in fuel costs which has jumped 36 percent in the last few years alone. Not only this, but the seating capacity of the craft has jumped by 40 percent.

Fuel currently accounts for approximately 40 percent of airline expenditure, and will keep rising -- no doubt giving many airline CEOs sleepless nights. Any innovative method that will free up some of this cost could help an airline gain a competitive edge in future business -- and it's likely that other airlines will begin to follow suit.

More seats available, less fuel to run -- financially, this is a smart move.

The new budget airline Scoot charges $17 per flight for the rental, and business customers are given the iPads for free. The iPads are pre-loaded with movies, music and games to keep customers happy, and even though the rental charge may seem expensive, this means Scoot gains back their investment after the 30th customer if they invest in 16GB models.

Scoot profits from lighter planes, lower fuel costs and gaining an additional revenue stream. Customers that don't mind paying to rent the items have a better experience, but those who are unwilling to pay lose the free option.

It's understandable, and probably won't be too long before some airline companies ground their planes permanently because they cannot afford to run them. Budget airlines offer a seat, and then the additional costs -- such as checking in online or having a cup of coffee -- are included.

We may expect long-haul trips to include entertainment, but it's not necessary, and its unlikely Scoot will be the only airline to implement these changes.

Image credit: Johan Larsson

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure