AI Is Helping Airlines Prevent Delays and Turbulence

WeatherSTEM, based in Florida, reports weather data and analyzes it using artificial intelligence to make recommendations. It also installs small hyperlocal weather stations, which sell for about $20,000, a fifth of the price of older-generation systems, said Ed Mansouri, the company’s chief executive.

While airports have always received detailed weather information, WeatherSTEM is among a small set of companies that use artificial intelligence to take that data and turn it into advice. It analyzes reports, for example, from a global lightning monitoring network that shows moment-by-moment electromagnetic activity to provide guidance on when planes should avoid landing and taking off, and when ground crews should seek shelter. The software can also help reduce unnecessary airport closures because its analysis of the lightning’s path is more precise than what airports have had in the past.

The company’s weather stations may include mini-Doppler radar systems, which show precipitation and its movement in greater detail than in standard systems; solar-powered devices that monitor factors like wind speed and direction; and digital video cameras. Tampa International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Orlando International airports, in Florida, are all using the new mini-weather stations.

The lower price will put the equipment within reach of smaller airports and allow them to improve operations during storms, Mr. Mansouri said, and larger airports might install more than one mini-station. Because airports are often spread out over large areas, conditions, especially wind, can vary, he said, making the devices valuable tools.

More precise data and more advanced analysis are helping airlines fly better in cold weather, too. De-icing a plane is expensive, polluting and time-consuming, so when sudden weather changes mean it has to be done twice, that has an impact on the bottom line, the environment and on-time departures.

What Next?

Recent Articles

Leave a Reply

You must be Logged in to post comment.