American Airlines’ New HEAT Tool Helps Avoid Cancellations

by Anthony Losanno
American Ops

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The past few weeks have been filled with headlines around flight delays and cancellations. United Airlines was particularly hard hit with weather impacting its operations at several hubs. American Airlines fared better and we now know it’s thanks to new technology it developed to manage operations during severe weather.

The Hub Efficiency Analytics Tool (HEAT) dynamically moves the airline’s flight schedules to ensure that customers, crews, and aircraft are moving when weather threatens to disrupt its flight schedule. Developed in-house at American, HEAT optimizes weather data, passenger loads, customer connections, gate availability, as well as air traffic control or crew constraints. An advanced algorithm weighs the data and shifts arrivals and departures around. HEAT helps American avoid the most severe weather impacts and keeps its operation running.

Timothy Niznik, American’s director of IOC Analytics, said:

HEAT is an innovative tool and part of our irregular operations playbook that will only get smarter with use. 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 it rolled out last year, HEAT has prevented nearly 1,000 flight cancellations.

Bob Shirley, an American dispatcher, air traffic control coordinator, and a member of the team who developed the tool, commented:

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.”

HEAT is used in American’s biggest hubs and it’s switched on whenever severe weather threatens to disrupt operations.

Anthony’s Take: Keeping 1,000 flights from getting cancelled is quite an accomplishment. American should look to license its tech to other airlines. Some, like United, are not faring well this summer.

(Featured Image Credit: American Airlines.)

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1 comment

Christian July 6, 2023 - 9:30 pm

Whenever I read about corporate AA I’m reminded of upper management having been crammed full of ULCC ideology from AmericaWest and the resulting inability to actually understand how a large high-quality airline is supposed to run. Accordingly, whoever is in charge is like Steve Carell in The Office where the witless boss accepts some idea they don’t understand from an underling. This seems an awful lot like that where someone offered a panacea to AA’s cancellation problems and Parker just said yes without understanding anything about the software but loving the sound of the idea.


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