National flag carrier Air New Zealand is testing a new computer vision artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enhance aircraft turnaround times.

Developed by start-up Assaia, the Apron AI system uses computer vision cameras to detect activities in real-time around aircraft turns.

The turn time process involves more than 50 coordinated activities, including disembarking of passengers and crew, cabin cleaning, catering, restocking and more. This time plays a key role in helping the airline deliver a positive passenger experience and performance.

It provides predictive analysis to improve future operations management and generate timestamps, predictions and alerts to help the airline enhance its on-time performance.

The Assaia Apron AI technology trial is currently being by the carrier with support from Auckland Airport.

Air New Zealand Operational Performance programme manager Marianita Willis said: “For each flight, there is a precise timeline associated with each activity to get the plane turned – understanding what is happening at each of these points enables us to proactively manage them.

“The technology enables additional data points to be collected in a real-time situation, offering a bird’s eye view which helps us get the necessary equipment and people in place.”

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The carrier is one of the first airlines in the world to use the technology and will continue to conduct trials throughout this year.

The data and analytics gathered will be used to gain more understanding about the technology and evaluate its value to Air New Zealand’s business.

Willis added: “We’re entering an exciting new era of operations, where data is increasingly leading our decision making and, with this, we are seeing the culmination of efforts right across the business to deliver a new level of excellence for our customers.”