The American Association of Airport Executives’ (AAAE) Airport Consortium on Customer Trust (ACT) programme has released the findings of a digitisation pilot.

Supported by industry partners such as ADB SAFEGATE and sponsored by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), the pilot aimed to investigate how the application of new technology could improve the efficiency, safety, and resiliency of airside operations throughout a commercial airport’s apron. 
Through the use of video artificial intelligence and integrated systems, the pilot at the Texas airport sought to harmonise gate activity between the aircraft, airline operations, airport operations, and ground handlers. The real-time data enables use of predicative analytics to reduce aircraft turnaround times, minimise delays, improve planning, measure compliance, and enhance the safety and efficiency of the connected gates at busy airports. 
“DFW is committed to digital transformation and working with AAAE and industry partners on initiatives like the intelligent apron that will enhance the customer journey and facilitate proactive operations,” said DFW vice president, information technology services, Michael Youngs.

“Our aim for this pilot was to establish the practicality and potential value of embarking on a transition to the intelligent apron with the technology that exists already today. This is not a 5-to-10-year vision, but a 2023 or 2024 solution to address today’s post-pandemic challenges,” added Tom Duffy, global business development advisor for ADB SAFEGATE. “It is amazing and also very gratifying to see what we can accomplish when the industry comes together in an open and non-commercial collaboration to solve common problems.”
This research summarises the possibilities for aviation in terms of the intelligent apron and wider themes of digitisation. Airports can use the research conducted at DFW to assess and determine the merits of digitising apron operations at their facilities. The white paper provides examples of use cases, a sense of the potential business cases, and an overview of the technical feasibility. According to AAAE, the pilot confirms technology and new tools exist today to enhance airside safety, and improve collaboration and transparency, of airport operations. 


Image: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport