Trials are currently underway at the Heathrow Airport in London to reduce delays. British Airways has introduced AI technology to parts of its airside operation.
As noted, the airline made things official in an announcement on Monday, saying that artificial intelligence is being used to overcome challenges that that airport management face when an aircraft is being prepared for departure after passengers from its previous flight have disembark.
It is during this time that they staff on the ground undertake manual checks, which can often run over to no less than 18 different things — all of which are recorded along the way.
These checks are simple enough, like refuelling, cleaning of the aircraft’s inside, and the unloading and reloading of luggage. But as you can imagine, if one of these tasks encounters a hiccup, it has the potential to disrupt the whole process.
Resulting in delays in departure.
As Raghbir Pattar, director of airports, British Airways, puts it:
“British Airways operates up to 800 flights a day to and from Heathrow. We run a highly complex operation so efficient turnarounds are critical to ensure all 145,000 customers travelling through our home hub every day enjoy a punctual departure.”
To address this issue, a startup called Assaia is here with a solution.
It has installed cameras at three aircraft stands at Terminal 5 of the airport, where artificial intelligence technology compares footage of the turnaround process with what is proposed on the schedule.
And whenever this system notices anything that could potentially cause a delay, it issues an alert to the manager in charge via a smart watch. This enables them to act to resolve the issue quickly, and ensure the flight is not held up.
Technologies like this are becoming increasingly critical for air travel, and airports around the world are now turning to AI and robotics to optimize and streamline their operations.