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Airline Industry Expert Systems

The schedulling flights based on economics, environmental, regulatory requirements and airway traffic parameters is extremely complex. And mistakes extremely costly.

So too in aircraft maintenance, the human cost of mistakes means the cost of avoiding human error is .

Expert systems typically found in the avaition industry include:

  • The Aviation Expert System - used to clarify psychological assessment issues in the field of aviation.
  • GAPATS - General Aviation Pilot Advisor and Training System
  • AMES - Aircraft Maintenance Expert Systems
  • Operations Management - Flights Schedulling, Crew Rostering, Airline Gate Allocation Schedulling.
  • CASRAP - Civil Aviation Security Risk Assessment Program



The General Aviation Pilot Advisor and Training System (GAPATS) is a computerized airborne expert system developed jointly by Knowledge Based Systems, Inc. (KBSI) and Texas A&M University (TAMU).

This system uses AI fuzzy logic to infer the flight mode of an aircraft to enhance the pilot’s situational awareness and reduce the cost and time required to achieve and maintain pilot proficiency. More information on GPATS


Aircraft Maintenance Expert Systems

Manual procedures around aircraft maintenance are very strenuous and time consuming. AMES expert system assists in the diagnosis of aircraft problems.


Operations Management Decision Suppport

Airline operational planning, scheduling and controlling [OPSC] is one of the most demanding operational scenarios.

Flight operational control decision-making operates within the structured flight schedule planning [long and short run] developed by airline competitive strategy.

Managing the flight schedule on a daily basis, in a highly dynamic environment affected by weather, unscheduled equipment maintenance, crew shortages, regulatory factors, and aircraft loading makes profitable deployment and management of a pre-determined flight schedule very complex.

Airline operational management systems are heuristic, experience-based tools that apply the above factors in a real-time decision support systems [DSS].

Airlines rely on decision-making tools that can provide qualified, if not quantified information rapidly. Its the only way to stay economically competitive. Typical systems include:

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines - recently deployed a commercial AI based DSS platform to support scheduling, crew, maintenance decisions.


Southwest developed their own Integrated Flight Tracking System [Swift] in 1995. SWIFT allows 37 dispatchers the ability to track 2,200 daily flights, in just 45 seconds [previously a 15 minute calculation]. Swift provides AI decision-making, removing the need to manually filter through irrelevant information. Maintenance, planning, and other functions have since been integrated to Swift.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines custom built system, AI-DSS automatically determines the solutions to problems such as: Which aircraft in a large holding pattern should land first? Or which flight(s) should be canceled or re-routed as a result of ATC flow control?

United Airlines

United Airlines AI-DSS called System Operations Advisor [SOA] reduced potential delays of over 2,000 flights a day on over five continents by 27,000 minutes in the first 12 months. This translated related delay cost savings of around $540,000.

A "solve button" on module programs integrates to real-time decision support for delaying a flight, swapping and canceling. A graphical user interface (GUI) may be used to set up models for solving specific real-time problems.

After pushing the solve button, SOA provides the optimal cost solution along with other [ranked] alternatives.

United has also developed integrated AI-DSS modules to assist with the management of gates, passenger flow, and overall staffing.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacifics hierarchy for strategic planning was structured as:

  • Long term strategy - includes analysis of new aircraft type, evaluation of fleet plan, effects of aircraft on deployed routes, and new route studies
  • Medium and short run planning - consist of the same considerations conducted in long range planning with the addition of seasonal and weekly ad hoc modifications.

For short term planning Cathay developed an AI-DSS platform called 'Interactive Flight Scheduling System' [IFSS]. The IFSS also allows the user to manually Add, Delete, Move, Exchange, and Search various flights.

A utility function allows the airline to pre-define the probabilities for utility of affected operational attributes for each calculated solution. This determines the highest probability of economic utility between solutions to a defined problem, allowing the operational manager to refine the IFSS selected solution within real-time decision making.


Civil Aviation Security Risk Assessment

AKELA has developed an risk assessment program [CASRAP] to examine and assess the three major elements of risk - threats, vulnerabilities, and assets - and then determine the impact of mitigating measures on overall security risk. The system allows comparison between airports in widely varying operating environments.

The program leads the user through a vulnerability assessment which includes: physical, operational, and technical elements of security in each of the major areas of an airport. Full details on CASRAP [pdf]

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