Turbulence Isn’t a Bigger Problem, But Airlines Want More Data to Avoid It


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) took on the topic and presented ways to reduce severe turbulence overall during the annual safety briefing during the 2024 Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit.


IATA Seeks 150 Million Data Points by End of 2024

Ever since the fatality and severe injuries experienced by flyers aboard Singapore Airlines Flight 321, turbulence has been a recent topic of discussion. However, leaders at IATA noted while the problem exists, actual severe turbulence events are still the exception.


The true challenge is identifying where turbulence events are taking place. Today’s reporting is limited to pilots reporting areas of turbulence to air traffic controllers and dispatchers. That data may then get passed on before flights, but it is not integrated into flight planning systems or necessarily shared between airlines.


To those ends, IATA has a product available to airlines to help track the situation. Called Turbulence Aware, the goal of the product is to share data and information between airlines in real time on where turbulence is happening, and how bad it is.


“More information, more coverage, and more data will definitely improve the situation,” said Nick Careen, senior vice president of operations, safety, and security at IATA. “The goal is to have more data so airlines can manage the situation better.”


Currently, 21 international airlines are part of the platform, reporting data from 2,400 aircraft. IATA’s goal is to get over 150 million data points by the end of 2024, in order to analyze where turbulence is happening, and if there are any common causes between incidents.


“The more data we get, the better we are,” said Careen. “The more information our pilots have at their fingertips, the safer we will become.”


In the meantime, IATA and other stakeholders continue to work to keep flyers safe in seats. Careen notes the best thing travelers can do is to keep their seat belts buckled while in the air to prevent injuries. While airlines are not adding new safety policies mandating seat belt use at all times, Careen said they could expect to see a re-enforcing of current seat belt rules when the light is on.


“Most airlines already had these [seat belt] policies in place…so that’s not new,” he said. “But anytime you have an incident that close to home, you’re going to reevaluate the procedures, re-enforce them, and improve them if possible.”


Feature image courtesy: Menash Cohen on Unsplash

Source: frugal travel guy

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