SmartSky and IATA team up to tackle turbulence

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Well-known inflight connectivity solutions provider SmartSky has joined forces with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to help them tackle the issue of uncomfortable turbulence. Working together on IATA’s Turbulence Aware platform, the partners hope that they will succeed in making flying more comfortable, safer and less bumpy for all passengers.

IATA SMartSky turbulence
IATA and SmartSky’s new partnership will help spot turbulence earlier. Photo: Pixabay

Haynes Griffin, SmartSky Chairman and CEO commented in a press release,

“SmartSky and IATA have teamed to expand the reach of this critical mission dedicated to tackling turbulence and providing safer and smoother commercial and business flights for passengers and crew. Our open framework, Application Programming Interfaces, and Skytelligence developer hub, are a catalyst for creativity and innovations that ultimately drive a better-connected air travel experience.”

Turbulence aware

For aviation, turbulence is becoming something of a serious problem. Over the last couple of years, numerous violent turbulence events have been noted around the world, some even leading to serious bodily injuries. Predictions are that turbulence will increase in frequency and strength in the future as a result of climate change.

Current systems to track and avoid turbulence are not very effective. Issues with being able to accurately locate and therefore avoid pockets of turbulence can see some short-haul flights with the seatbelt sign on for almost the entire trip. As well as causing concern to passengers, these events can lead to increased fuel burn too, as pilots seek out smooth air at different altitudes.

Turbulence Aware
IATA’s Turbulence Aware uses crowdsourced data to build a more complete picture of turbulence events. Photo: IATA

IATA’s Turbulence Aware aims to create a more accurate, more robust solution to turbulence identification and avoidance. Using data gathered from participating airlines constituting thousands of flights per day, IATA’s tool can build a more complete picture of where turbulence is being encountered

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By feeding this crowdsourced information to other airlines and aircraft in real-time, pilots will have more accurate, objective reports of turbulence events, giving them more time to secure their cabin or to avoid that area. IATA explains how it works in the video below:

Speaking on the new partnership, Katya Vashchankova, Head of the Meteorological Program for IATA said,

“The IATA-SmartSky Networks partnership represents an important milestone in our global Turbulence Aware initiative, whose number of participating airlines is growing every week and as we broaden the scope to also include business aviation.”

Powered by Skytelligence

SmartSky’s service framework, Skytelligence, will be the main tool behind the new partnership. Using SmartSky’s extensive ATG network, participating aircraft can send real time reports to the database for sharing with other pilots.

IATA is already working with around 15 airlines to develop the tool, including easyJet, United, Southwest and Lufthansa. Now, with SmartSky’s extensive experience in the business jet marketplace, it is hoped more business aviation flights will begin providing data.

SmartSky Networks
SmartSky’s experience in BizAv will be an asset for IATA. Photo: SmartSky Networks

Right now, business aviation doesn’t feed in any automated turbulence reports to any system, but the sector has the potential to really grow the pool of data on which Turbulence Aware will be based. The combination of a new market focus and a robust inflight connectivity solution for reporting, SmartSky will be a positive asset for IATA’s project.

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