IATA unveils new platform for sharing turbulence data between airlines

IATA unveils new platform for sharing turbulence data between airlines
Several people on board a German private plane were injured after the aircraft rolled uncontrollably after hitting turbulence caused by an Emirates jet flying above it.
Published: 12 December 2018 - 3:54 p.m.
By: Alexander Pieri

During its annual Global Media Day 2018, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) unveiled its Turbulence Aware data resource. The new platform is designed to assist airlines in better avoiding turbulence when planning routes during flight.

By pooling and sharing turbulence data in real time, the platform enhances an airline’s ability to forecast and avoid turbulence.

“Turbulence Aware is a great example of the potential for digital transformation in the airline industry. The airline industry has always cooperated on safety—its number one priority,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

“Big Data is now turbocharging what we can achieve. In the case of Turbulence Aware, the more precise forecasting of turbulence will provide a real improvement for passengers, whose journeys will be even safer and more comfortable.”

In the current environment, airlines rely on pilot reports and weather advisories to plan routes and mitigate the impact of turbulence. While effective, the current approach does have its limitations as the data utilised is often fragmentated and ranges in terms of the quality of the information. IATA also noted that the standardised scale for the severity of turbulence reported can be very subjective among different-sized aircraft and pilot experiences.

To tackle these issues, Turbulence Aware collates data from multiple contributing airlines, while at the same time applying rigorous quality control. Once collected and consolidated, the data is then shared a single, objective source database accessible to all participants. That data is then fed directly into an airline’s dispatch or airborne alerting systems.

“IATA’s collaborative approach to creating Turbulence Aware with open source data means that airlines will have access to data to better mitigate turbulence. Using Turbulence Aare in conjunction with Delta’s proprietary Flight Weather Viewer app is expected to build on the significant reductions we’ve seen already to both turbulence-related crew injuries and carbon emissions year-over-year,” said Jim Graham, Delta’s SVP of Flight Operations.

The first operational version of the platform will conclude its development by the end of 2018, which will then see operational trials running throughout 2019. The final product is expected to launch in early-2020.

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