easyJet Airbus A319 (Wikimedia)
easyJet will begin using drones to carry out maintenance checks in a bid to cut cost and time (Wikimedia)

Budget airline easyJet is to start using drones to carry out maintenance checks on its aircrafts in a bid to save time and money - it's the first airline to use the devices in this way.

The pilotless aircrafts, developed with Coptercraft, Measurement Solutions, and Bristol Robotics Laboratory, will carry out maintenance checks on easyJet planes. This will save time and money on inspections, easyJet said in a statement.

The drones will be programmed to perform a scan on an aircraft, which will then relay messages to engineers.

According to easyJet, these checks can take up to a day to complete, but with the new technology they could be completed in just a couple of hours, "and potentially with greater accuracy".

Carolyn McCall, chief executive of easyJet, said: "We have examined and assessed cutting edge technology across many different industries and are now applying a range of new technologies to the aviation sector for the first time to help us run our fleet of aircraft more effectively, efficiently and safely."

"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."

The drones are currently in development and easyJet will look to have them running at some point next year.

The airline also plans to replace paper charts and log books on its aircrafts with electronic ones; the weight reduction will save roughly half a million dollars on fuel a year, it said.