How American Airlines uses technology to manage summer storms 

by | Jul 10, 2023 | Airlines, Airports, News, Travel Tech

How American Airlines uses technology to manage summer storms


The end of June saw another week of heavily disrupted flight operations in the United States (US) with thousands of delays and cancelled flights. According to the Associated Press the delays were exacerbated by thunderstorms on the northeast.

This latest bout of disruption highlights the ongoing challenges the aviation industry faces, especially during the summer months when thunderstorms and other severe weather conditions are more prevalent. Airlines and airports strive to maintain smooth operations, but the unpredictable nature of the weather can result in serious disruption.

American has developed cutting-edge technology to combat the disruption caused by weather. The Hub Efficiency Analytics Tool (HEAT), “dynamically moves flight schedules around to ensure that customers, crew, and aircraft keep moving when weather threatens to disrupt the schedule.”

Timothy Niznik, American’s Director of IOC Analytics explained:

“HEAT is an innovative tool and part of our irregular operations playbook that will only get smarter with use. Each time we run HEAT, we analyse the results, and incorporate those findings so we can continue to improve the strategies and technology that help keep our operation moving.”

Through optimising data about weather, customer connections, gate availability, volume of passengers on each flight, and any air traffic control or crew constraints, American’s algorithm has so far prevented nearly 1,000 flight cancellations across their network.

Weather is a common cause for IROPS within the aviation industry often leading to delays and disruptions. Although the weather events cannot be controlled, the ability of industry players to absorb the disruption and provide travellers with the best service throughout is a point of differentiation. This year, the World Aviation Festival will hold an IROPS summit with sessions focusing on prediction and prevention as well as customer recovery. Here, the potential applications of technology to mitigate the extremes of disruption are considered as well as the human aspect and prioritising communication with the customer. This summit will feature speakers from airlines including AirAsia, TAP, United, KLM, and more. Book your ticket here.