11.1 Integrating Weather Forecasts with Uncertainty into Complex Operational Decisions at American Airlines

Thursday, 16 January 2020: 10:30 AM
206A (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Steve Abelman, American Airlines, Ft. Worth, TX

In the complex and dynamic world of daily operations at American Airlines (AA), critical strategic and tactical decisions are made integrating weather information with various degrees of (un)certainty in the forecast. Examples include:

  • Managers at AA's Integrated Operations Center proactively cancel or delay flights, allow passengers to reroute, and in some cases reroute aircraft out of harm's way when high impact winter or tropical weather is expected.
  • Pilots have increasing Wifi performance with more tactical products at their disposal than ever before.
  • Airline Dispatchers choose alternate airports based not only on terminal forecasts, but also enroute weather conditions and current/forecast ATC Air Traffic Management initiatives.
  • Airport Operations make staffing decisions based high confidence winter weather or convective weather forecasts.

American integrates forecast uncertainty in many ways, some easier to understand and quantify than others. This presentation will look at the ways AA has benefited from understanding the uncertainly associated from weather forecasts to make complicated operational decisions. It will also highlight how airline risk and forecast confidence are important pieces to the puzzle. Finally, challenges and research needs of the future will be touched on to help the weather research community understand commercial aviation gaps in weather forecast information.

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