Airline operations are carefully planned and orchestrated, and a reliable operation is one that’s constantly moving. Because when an airline stops, it means our aircraft and crews stop — and importantly, it means our customers stop. It means it can become increasingly more difficult to return to normal operations.
American Airlines has developed cutting-edge technology that keeps customers moving when severe weather impacts our larger hubs. The Hub Efficiency Analytics Tool (HEAT) dynamically moves our flight schedules around to ensure that customers, crews and aircraft keep moving when weather threatens to disrupt our schedule.
Developed in-house at American, HEAT optimizes data about weather, how full our flights are, customer connections, and gate availability, as well as any air traffic control or crew constraints. Then, an advanced algorithm weighs this data and shifts arrivals and departures around at the hub. The incredible experts at our Integrated Operations Center (IOC) — the nerve center of our operation — use HEAT to help us avoid the most severe weather impacts and keep our operation running, while getting customers on their way faster during severe weather.
“HEAT is an innovative tool and part of our irregular operations playbook that will only get smarter with use,” said Timothy Niznik, American’s director of IOC Analytics. “Each time we run HEAT, we analyze the results, and incorporate those findings so we can continue to improve the strategies and technology that help keep our operation moving.”
Since its initial deployment last year, HEAT has prevented nearly 1,000 flight cancellations across our network.
“HEAT allows me to optimize our flight timing in inclement weather to provide a better experience for our customers and crews — it’s a game changer,” said Bob Shirley, an American dispatcher, air traffic control coordinator and a member of the team who developed the tool.