The Netherlands’ second largest airport at Eindhoven has partnered up with Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, to explore how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can make aviation turnaround times faster and more efficient.
Schiphol’s cutting-edge Deep Turnaround technology is now helping optimize @EINairport‘s aircraft turnaround process. Using AI and camera monitoring, this system predicts and manages potential delays, ensuring smoother operations for both airports.https://t.co/PDmjfIYoSr https://t.co/h0BTrxrXdd— Schiphol (@Schiphol) November 2, 2023
Eindhoven has beaten its pre-Covid-19 travel numbers over the third quarter this year, carrying nearly 4.6 million passengers (summer 2019 saw 4.5 million) and handling 27,678 flight movements.
However, aviation across the globe is facing post-pandemic recruitment, training and retention problems that have caused mass transit delays in some places, so the use of AI to analyse and speed up airport processes is a timely development, and one the Dutch are confident other airports will be interested in.
The technology, dubbed Deep Turnaround, uses cameras on the “apron” area, where planes park, unload and reload, are maintained and boarded. These “automatically detect the start and end of the ground handling process” according to a press release, giving the airport a more accurate prediction of aircraft readiness.
Four of the airport’s 14 stands currently benefit from the AI cameras, and the aim is to equip all of them with the tech by 2024. The cameras work through algorithmic machine-learning, getting to know through the collation and analysis of images when aircraft are ready for take-off. If one of the ground processes involved is delayed, the cameras will pick up the problem and relay it using the “Turnaround Insights Dashboard”, giving the airport early warnings of potential issues and enabling staff to take swift action to address problems on the so-called “flight line”.
According to Simple Flying, the innovation can improve turnaround times by up to 30% – a huge gain in efficiency for hard-pressed airports and harassed flyers.
Not just on the ground
Mirjam van den Bogaard, Chief Operations Officer at Eindhoven Airport explained in a statement that “Eindhoven Airport works continuously on the further optimisation of airport processes. Deep Turnaround is a valuable instrument that contributes to this, both on the ground and in the air. The latter is something more long term.”
Our aim is to be able to predict as accurately as possible when aircraft can depart. There is still a lot to be gained for passengers, airlines and our sustainability ambitionsMirjam van den Bogaard, Chief Operations Officer at Eindhoven Airport
Transparency and sharing
Meanwhile Lennert L’Amie, Schipol’s Director of IT & Data highlighted the cooperation and sharing that has gone on behind the scenes to develop Deep Turnaround and make it a tool others can benefit from too. “The insights provided by data help to make the ground operation more predictable. We’ve collaborated with various stakeholders on Deep Turnaround to make the ground handling process more transparent. It’s worthwhile to share this knowledge with other airports and learn from their experiences so that we can continue developing the product.”