IATA Enables Airlines to Share Turbulence Data

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched its Turbulence Aware data platform to help airlines avoid turbulence when planning routes tactically in flight. IATA said its Turbulence Aware augments an airline’s ability to forecast and avoid turbulence by pooling and sharing (in real time) turbulence data generated by participating airlines.
Today airlines rely upon pilot reports and weather advisories to mitigate the impact of turbulence on their operations. IATA said that these tools – while effective – have limitations due to the fragmentation of the data sources, inconsistencies in the level and quality of information available, and the locational imprecision and the subjectivity of the observations. IATA noted that, for example, there is no standardised scale for the severity of turbulence that a pilot may report other than a light, moderate or severe scale, which becomes very subjective among different-sized aircraft and pilot experience.

IATA said Turbulence Aware improves on the industry’s capabilities by collecting data from multiple contributing airlines, followed by a rigorous quality control. Then the data is consolidated into a single, anonymised, objective source database which is accessible to participants. The data is turned into actionable information when fed into an airline’s dispatch or airborne alerting systems. The result, IATA says, is the first global, real-time, detailed and objective information for pilots and operations professionals to manage turbulence.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO commented: “Turbulence Aware is a great example of the potential for digital transformation in the airline industry. The airline industry has always cooperated on safety – its number one priority. Big data is now turbocharging what we can achieve. In the case of Turbulence Aware, the more precise forecasting of turbulence will provide a real improvement for passengers, whose journeys will be even safer and more comfortable.”

IATA said Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Aer Lingus have signed contracts to join the Turbulence Aware programme and Delta is already providing its data.
The first operational version of the platform will be developed by end of 2018. Operational trials will run throughout 2019, with ongoing feedback collection from participating airlines. The final product will be launched in early 2020.