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American Airlines Touts In-House Developed Tech That is Helping it Perform Better Than Rivals During Severe Weather

American Airlines Touts In-House Developed Tech That is Helping it Perform Better Than Rivals During Severe Weather

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American Airlines says it has developed its own computer software that is helping it to navigate through severe weather events, reducing flight cancellations and improving the carrier’s overall performance.

The Dallas Fort Worth-based airlines unveiled the cutting-edge tech a day after telling staff that it had flown its “best-ever” Independence Day holiday weekend despite multiple FAA ground stops and “tough” weather conditions, especially in the North East.

The computer program has been nicknamed HEAT which stands for Hub Efficiency Analytics Tool. The program devours information in real-time that could affect the airline’s operations at its main hubs and then dynamically moves flight schedules in an attempt to prevent cancellations.

The “game changer” program has so far prevented more than 1,000 flight cancellations since it was launched last year, and American Airlines says its performance will only get better with time.

“HEAT optimizes data about weather, how full our flights are, customer connections, and gate availability, as well as any air traffic control or crew constraints,” the airline revealed on Thursday.

“Then, an advanced algorithm weighs this data and shifts arrivals and departures around at the hub.”

HEAT isn’t in use all the time, but staff at AA’s Integrated Operations Center (which the airline describes as its ‘nerve center’) switch it on whenever there is a threat of weather disruption, which could call what is known in the airline industry as IRROPS (Irregular operations).

“Each time we run HEAT, we analyze the results, and incorporate those findings so we can continue to improve the strategies and technology that help keep our operation moving,” explained Timothy Niznik, AA’s director of IOC Analytics.

The program may well have played a part in American’s impressive holiday weekend performance, which chief operations officer David Seymour has described as “spectacular”.

Seymour said the airline had managed to recover from a variety of challenges over the weekend quickly and “led the industry” in minimizing mainline cancellations.

In a congratulatory memo, Seymour didn’t mention the role that HEAT played in AA’s performance over the weekend but he heaped praise on the “resilience” of the airline’s operation.

“Summer isn’t over yet,” Seymour, however, warned. “We have many more weeks to go in this critical travel period… Our customers have trusted us to be a part of their travel plans this summer”.

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  • AI could potential optimize profits. They could give more weight to high ticket price passengers, who cannot connect that day if a flight is cancelled, etc. The results would depend on how things are weighted. Individual profiles of passengers could be made by AI. AI could determine that a passenger flies AA a lot or is not currently a high level elite but consistently flyies AA for many years and fairly often. AI could also note if there are any powerful Senators on the flight or close relatives of Senators.

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