API magazine
October 1, 2020

British Airways (BA) has initiated the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure the timely departure of flights at London Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5.

This is part of the airline’s GBP 6.5 billion investment plan to improve the customer experience. When passengers disembark an aircraft, the airline staff are required to carry out manual checks and record the details of 18 different activities such as aircraft interior cleaning and the unloading and reloading of catering before the next journey. If there are any issues, the entire process may be stopped, potentially leading to delays on the next flight’s departure. BA has partnered with Swiss start-up Assaia to install a network of cameras around the aircraft stand. For the first phase of the trial, four cameras have been deployed on three stands. The technology uses advanced neural networks or AI to compare proposed schedules with live footage of the process. As well as decreasing instances of delays, the airline intends to use the data for boosting the efficiency of fleet operations.

British Airways airports director, Raghbir 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.”