The airport tech helping to prevent delayed flights

Delayed flights remain a common problem on both sides of the Atlantic. Official figures show 11% of UK flights were delayed in the second quarter of last year, while 16% of US flights took off late in 2021 as a whole.

There are often multiple reasons behind delays but could include ground crews running late with aircraft refuelling, the airport struggling to deal with the sheer volume of passengers or having to wait for the pilots, or bad weather.

One strategy to reduce delays is the increased use of high-tech monitoring technology, to help airports and airlines run more efficiently.

Israeli startup, IntellAct, is one such provider. The company says most departure delays are within an airline's control and many stem from so-called turnaround services - the aircraft being cleaned, refuelled and restocked, or luggage being removed and loaded.

Using airport operators and airlines' existing security and observation cameras, IntellAct's artificial intelligence (AI) software system can automatically detect delays in these turnaround services.

It can then highlight the problem to airport staff or ground crew and suggest a mitigation plan in real time. For example, if a fuel truck arrives late, IntellAct can detect this and recommend 'parallel boarding'. This is where passengers board while the aircraft is being fuelled - it requires a fire engine to be present as a safety precaution.