British Airways has partnered with start-up firm Assaia to trial AI technology aimed at reducing delays to departures at Heathrow T5.
The initiative initially sees a network of cameras set up around three stands at T5, which use artificial intelligence “to compare live footage of the complex turnaround process with the proposed schedule”.
If the technology detects any issues which result in delays, an alert is sent to a smart watch worn by the manager in charge, so that they can take action.
Any technology which could potentially help reduce delays will be welcomed by regular BA passengers – the carrier has suffered several IT and technical issues in recent times including this week where passengers have reportedly been subjected to delays of up to 22 hours.
BA says that 18 different activities have to be completed before an aircraft can depart for its next flight, from the cleaning of interiors, to refueling, and the unloading and reloading of catering, luggage and cargo.
Assaia has previously taken part in IAG’s Hangar 51 accelerator programme, which has also seen sister carrier Iberia trial in-flight virtual reality content with start-up company Inflight VR earlier this year.
Assaia describes its offering as “an Artificial Intelligence solution that watches turnarounds in real time to understand what is happening and offers predictive analysis to better manage operations”.
Commenting on the news BA’s director of airports, Raghbir S Pattar, said:
“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.
“Artificial intelligence is a rapidly evolving area of technology and I’m thrilled that we’re the first airline in the world to harness it to further improve our customers’ journeys through the airport.
“We are the most punctual of the major short-haul airlines flying out of London and our commitment to introducing the latest technology to complement our outstanding customer service is how we will maintain our position at the top. We’re excited to introduce even more smart, tech-based solutions in 2020.”
Last year Emirates launched its Hubs Monitor app aimed at reducing delays caused by the turnaround of its B777 and A380 aircraft at Dubai International airport.