Emma Okonji in Dubai
Emirates Airline has said it will continue to leverage emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoTs) and Big Data to drive its airline operations in other to enhance customer experience in all its inbound and outbound flights.
Senior Manager, Base Operations and Recovery at Emirates, Mr Christopher Welham, made the disclosure in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), while conducting ICT journalists round Emirates’ engineering and maintenance department during a facility tour yesterday.
According to him, emerging technologies are driving global airline operations and Emirates would continue to train its personnel in line with technology trends to deliver smooth airline operations that would always enhance customer experience.
“We have a special unit for software developers that operate between the engineering site and the emirates headquarters where they have a team of about 20 people and they are looking at Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoTs, Big Data, Robotics, and getting documentation to people on their phones, and wrist watches. We have 6,000 staff in engineering, among whom are software developers that develop apps and tech solutions that airline operations,” Welham said.
Speaking about the airline’s partnership with global technology companies, Welham said “ We have partnerships with the engine manufacturers such as GE, RollsRoyce and Engine Alliance, and they are for prognostic solutions. So, an aircraft while in flight, is constantly sending down data of the engine and we use such data to predict the success and failure rates before it happens. At the moment, I will say we are at about 90 per cent maturity, in the area of data analytics and data usage to predict occurrences because some of the manufacturers of some components for other airlines aren’t able to provide enough data.
“Again we are able to monitor and manage the temperature in the cabin, when an aircraft is ready for departure, and the essence is to provide conducive temperature for all our aircraft passengers.”
If the temperature drops below a certain threshold, the aircraft will send whatsapp messages to the right people to signify them, and it gives us an opportunity to maintain a steady temperature in all our aircrafts. So we have these solutions, and a lot of them are built in-house. Slowly, we are starting to introduce bots and AI-based solutions to crunch the numbers. We are doing this with a lot of documentation, and with some of the data that the aircraft is providing for us, Welham added.
He explained that the airline’s new Boeing 777 and the new Airbus
A380, are driven by new technologies such as the introduction of additional virtual windows, where passengers could capture the full view of what is outside the plane through a virtual screen that looks like a window.
Emirates, according to Welham, “takes the safety of passengers seriously, hence it invests heavily in regular maintenance like weekly checks, ‘A’ checks and ‘C’ checks.”
Climax of the facility tour was the tour of the Emirates’s Catering Centre where food production for all airlines were carried out through automated process, driven by food processing technologies.