For airlines, turbulence is a leading cause of injuries among passengers and crew members and leads to higher fuel costs and consequent carbon emissions as aircraft maneuver to avoid bumpy air. There are several strategies for evading turbulence, but the surest method is sharing data from other aircraft that have flown through the same airspace. And compiling algorithms for analyzing atmospheric conditions for their effects on turbulence gets better the more aircraft are involved in collecting the data.
To that end, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced that Japan’s Air Nippon Airways (ANA) and WestJet have both signed on to the organization’s Turbulence Aware Platform. The announcement came today (June 6) at the 79th IATA Annual General Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey.
Launched in 2018, Turbulence Aware collates the anonymized turbulence data from thousands of flights operated worldwide by airlines that participate in the program. “The real-time, accurate information enables pilots and dispatchers to choose optimal flight paths, avoiding turbulence and flying at optimum levels to maximize fuel efficiency and thereby reduce CO2 carbon emissions,” according to IATA.
Twenty different airlines currently participate in the platform, representing more than 1,900 aircraft providing data on a daily flight-by-flight basis. Last year the cooperative effort produced 31 million reports. Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said, “Accurate and timely data empowers crews to improve safety by avoiding turbulence. The more contributors we have, the more everyone benefits. The addition of ANA and WestJet enhances our coverage especially in Asia Pacific and North America.”