The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has unveiled its Turbulence Aware data resource that will enable airlines to avoid sudden airflow changes while planning routes during flights.

The platform is capable of pooling and sharing conditions data in real-time, helping improve an airline’s ability to forecast and avoid turbulence.

Currently, airlines depend on pilots and weather advisories to reduce the impact of turbulence on their operations.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has found that turbulence is the leading cause of injuries to passengers and crew in non-fatal accidents.

Turbulence Aware gathers data from multiple contributing airlines under a rigorous quality control mechanism. The data is then combined into a single, anonymised, objective source database that is accessible to participants.

Subsequently, Turbulence Aware data is turned into actionable information once it is fed into an airline’s dispatch or airborne alerting systems. This is intended to help pilots and operations professionals manage turbulence.

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“Big data is now turbocharging what we can achieve.”

IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said: “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.”

Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Aer Lingus have signed contracts for Turbulence Aware, while Delta is already providing data to the programme.

Delta flight operations senior vice-president Jim Graham said: “Using Turbulence Aware in conjunction with Delta’s proprietary Flight Weather Viewer app is expected to build on the significant reductions we’ve seen already to both turbulence-related crew injuries and carbon emissions year-over-year.”

The first operational version of the platform is expected to be ready by the year-end.  Operational trials will be carried out throughout 2019, while the final product will be rolled out in early 2020.