Drones testing announced by easyJet

<p>The budget airline is testing drone technology for the first time.</p>

Budget airline easyJet has seen its share price rise then fall this morning (May 8th) after the company announced it is testing drone technology for the first time.

The firm revealed that the drones are among a range of new and innovative technologies that have been developed by the company in a bid to help operate its fleet of 220 Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft more efficiently. The airline stated that the impact of this move would be reduce delays while maintaining its punctuality and safety records.

Chief executive of easyJet Carolyn McCall explained that the drones will be used to assist in external inspections, while the airline is also going to be trialling bespoke apps that have been designed to aid engineers and pilots in key tasks.

"The advantage of these emerging technologies is threefold – freeing up our engineering team to undertake more skilled tasks, keeping our costs down which in turn keeps our fares low and helping to minimise delays so maintaining our industry leading punctuality for our passengers,” she said.

Ms McCall added that safety is the number of priority of easyJet, noting all of these new technologies are going to be applied by the company's experienced engineering and flight crew in order to ensure its leading safety record is maintained.

Drone usage

Ian Davies, head of engineering for easyJet, stated that the use of drones in checking aircraft will be an efficient way to ensure aircraft are in the right condition to fly. He added: “Checks that would usually take more than a day could be performed in a couple of hours and potentially with greater accuracy.”

Dr Arthur Richards, head of aerial robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, which is a partnership between the University of Bristol and the University of West England, added he believes drones could be a “great” way to check aircraft.

Following the announcement by easyJet, the share price of the budget airline rose in the early stages of trading on the London Stock Exchange today. By 08:41 BST, stocks in the firm were up almost 0.5 per cent, but at 10:47 BST they were down 0.18 per cent.

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