Artificial Intelligence in the Aviation Industry

By Muhammad Humam
4th June, 2020

With rapid advancements in technology, the use of artificial intelligence has grown universally. The aviation industry, much like many others, has benefited from artificial intelligence as industry leaders continue to innovate, using artificial intelligence to improve operations and customer service. EUROCONTROL has involved itself in nearly fifteen research projects involving artificial intelligence (AI) and AI will be utilized in nearly all of the research areas pursued by the organization, as per Pierre Andribet’s (Head of Research and Development at EUROCONTROL) quote in Skyway Magazine. This post reviews some of the many innovations related to artificial intelligence in the aviation industry.

Customer Service: As per Aviation Business News, Transavia Flight Search, a chatbot that helps guide potential consumers through their ticket purchase journey, was developed by Mirabeau (a digital agency) using the platform of Facebook Messenger. Social Hospitality reports that Delta Airlines uses artificial intelligence technology involving facial recognition to identify customers at self-service stations at the airport. United Airlines has also taken proactive steps to improve customer experience through the use of artificial intelligence, reports IoT For All, as the organization has introduced an Amazon Alexa skill set, allowing potential customers and passengers to interact with their personal assistant device to solicit answers to common inquiries, e.g. flight status, availability of in-flight connectivity etc.

Operational Efficiency: As per Aviation Business News, easyJet has reportedly reduced its food wastage by utilizing an artificial intelligence system to predict the quantity of food item(s) that would be required for each flight. As per Altexsoft, easyJet has also been using artificial intelligence to manage its inventory and package pricing, increasing the profit earned (per airplane seat) by nearly one-fifth between the years 2010-2014. Crew management is another crucial aspect of airline processes that needs to be handled in an optimal fashion. IoT For All reports about Jeppesen, an artificial intelligence platform that takes into account the qualifications and availability of crew members (among other relevant data) and optimally manages members of the crew accordingly. Furthermore, as per Altexsoft, Delta has been using SmartSignal, a tool which helps the airline predict the technical failure of parts in advance, allowing engineers to proactively change these parts and thus prevent delays.

Turnarounds: Airport management and CDM solutions, such as EMMA, utilize artificial intelligence to predict critical events in airport operations and inform relevant stakeholder(s) automatically. EMMA uses historical data, weather conditions, distance, airplane type, traffic, path and other relevant information to predict taxi time(s) which can improve the estimation of In-Block/Take-Off times. Moreover, a similar approach is used to predict turnaround times and for the implementation of what-if scenarios at the airport.

There is increasing awareness about the use of artificial intelligence towards improving operational efficiency and customer service in the aviation industry. The estimated investment required to develop an airport (particularly in relation to the improvement of technology and procedures) is expected to grow to be more than $1 trillion as per Social Hospitality. This forecasts a major role for artificial intelligence within the aviation industry in the near future.