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Casper Henson
By Casper Henson
Casper Henson
Casper Henson
Oct 19, 2023· 3 min, 54 sec

4 Ways Weather Intelligence Can Improve Operations for Airlines and Airports

    How Does Weather Disrupt the Aviation Industry?

    Irregular Operations (IROPS) as a result of disruptive weather events like snowstorms and lightening have a significant impact on the U.S. aviation system.

    One study found that the airline industry loses $13,000 every time a flight is cancelled because of an uncontrollable event like the weather. However, most airlines haven’t innovated on the traditional forecasting methods – still wasting valuable time calling a meteorologist before making vital, time-sensitive operational decisions.

    The good news is that there are ways that the airline industry and airports can more effectively prepare for and cope with the whims and caprices of Mother Nature. And that answer is weather intelligence.

    1. Weather-Related Delays, Diversions, and Cancellations

    According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 20.8% of flights in 2023 have been delayed or canceled due to weather.

    Why?

    Many airlines waste time interpreting forecasts.

    Today’s standard forecasts, even those delivered via user-friendly dashboards or apps, are based on repackaged government data that doesn’t provide the kind of location-specific, minute-by-minute forecasts the airline industry needs to prepare for sudden weather shocks such as lightning and snowstorms.

    Solution for Delays and Cancellation

    With weather intelligence, you’re no longer wasting time translating a forecast into action. Instead, you can quickly prepare for an incoming storm by using weather tech to inform you of storms far out enough that you can make appropriate adjustments, such as canceling flights or delaying them until the storm clears.

    Such a solution helps airlines know exactly when to push out flights, reducing delays, costly diversions, and cancellation rates.

    2. Safety Hazards During Adverse Weather

    Snowfall can greatly affect aircraft on the ground, as well as during ascent and descent. Significant snow accumulation that isn’t anticipated can cause unnecessary airport closures, while the undetected formation of ice on an aircraft is another major concern. On the ground, ramps that aren’t properly prepared for the elements by crew members can turn a takeoff or landing into a serious safety hazard.

    Solution for Safety Hazards

    Hyper-accurate forecasts now provide the airline industry, specifically airports, with the heads up they need to plan ahead by staffing appropriately, bringing a snow removal team, applying the necessary chemicals on a ramp, and deicing an aircraft so as to ensure that crew and passengers alike stay safe.

    3. Unnecessary Windows of Caution

    A big problem with traditional weather forecasting is that it predicts precipitation adequately but fails to detect strong winds and lightning with any degree of specificity. As a result, many airlines overcompensate for potential bad weather by prematurely closing ramps, cancelling flights, overstaffing and generally operating reactively, on an ad hoc basis.

    Solution for Minimizing Downtime

    Access to more accurate timing and location forecasts are allowing airlines to minimize downtime, keep ramps open for as long as possible and periodically suspend deicing. As a result, airlines can continue to operate at maximum efficiency while keeping crew members and passengers safe.

    4. Negative Customer Experience Due to Weather Uncertainties

    When the weather’s bad, air line customers and airlines pay. The FAA estimates that nearly 70% of all delayed or canceled flights are due to weather. Studies also show that, on average, canceled flights cost an average of $5,770  per flight, depending on the airline.

    For the customer, the ramifications extend beyond mere inconvenience. In fact, it can lead to a profound shift in their perception and trust in a brand. A canceled flight, for instance, might mean missing out on a crucial meeting or event, making the negative experience feel personal. With 82% of customers leaving a brand they trust after just one bad experience, it’s more important than ever to work to keep customers happy.

    Solution for CX Enhancement

    Airlines that use a single source to access all weather information across hubs globally are better able to synchronize between various company stakeholders. Being able to streamline operations this way is bound to boost passengers’ levels of customer satisfaction and improve customer loyalty.

    Can Mother Nature Be Managed in the Aviation Industry?

    Mother Nature is more restless than ever. However, the airline industry, individual airlines, and airports can manage this quickening pace of climate change by having the real-time knowledge necessary to arrange early cancellations, schedule changes, secure ramp equipment, fuel aircraft in advance, increase staffing, and whatever other steps are needed to minimize delays and maximize safety.

    The bottom line results are clear. Airlines have reported savings of $300K-$600K per hub per year by using cutting-edge weather solutions. Beyond the ROI calculations, having between 1-3 days to prepare for bad weather enables airlines to run much more efficiently, boosting crews’ morale and passengers’ experiences alike.

    Learn more about how top airlines manage weather with Tomorrow.io >

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