3 Things American Airlines Is Doing To Improve Its Operations In Dallas And Charlotte

In a talk to American Airlines employees mid-month, Chief Operating Officer David Seymour described the new tool that the airline is using to manage gate operations in Dallas, which they’ll be tweaking for Charlotte as well.

They’re already making progress reducing the amount of time planes spend taxiing to gates and reducing delays as planes get into and out of gates. They’re even reducing the frequency that planes land and find their gates occupied. All of this adds up to less time on planes for customers, and fewer times that customers are late – which means fewer misconnections.

Here’s how he described the changes,

It’s what we use to gate assign here in DFW. That’s a task that used to be done by a human…a human managing that large of an operation, there’s a lot of complexity there that they just weren’t going to be able to manage in four hours, even if you gave them a whole day to do.

We’ve developed a technology..focusing on three primary issues. The first one is trying to reduce taxi time on the ground. That taxi time really is making sure that we’re trying to gate the aircraft on the side of the airport that it actually lands.

…It also looks through at trying to eliminate gate conflict so we want to make sure that when the aircraft comes into the gate that there’s not another aircraft waiting there…maximizing the gate separation, the time from when an aicraft departed to when the next aircraft is going to arrive.

…And the other thing is we want to eliminate some of the conflict we have, multiple pushes coming from same gates or nearby gates that create conflict. The one I’d like to highlight the most, the one between A and C, we have a single push out taxi line. A and C will both run into each other if we don’t manage that correctly.

…We’ve seen a dramatic improvement in all of those measures.

Seymour reports that at Dallas – Fort Worth they’ve had a 50% reduction in gate conflicts (a plane arrives to find their gate is still in use) and 10.5 hours fewer hours that American planes spend taxiing each day. That better for on time arrivals, which helps customers and crew make their connections

The next step is adapting this new system for use at their Charlotte hub.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Three Things I Wish American Airlines Would Do

    1. Go out of business
    2. Go out of business
    3. Go out of business

  2. Things are improving at American Airlines now that Parker is gone. The guy (Parker) should have been fired years ago.

  3. AA needs do the same at Austin Bergstrom Airport where they have added too many flights and need more staff. The last three recent flights I’ve been on landed ABIA on time, then sat on the tarmac for over 30 minutes waiting for a gate.
    BOTH AA and the Airport need to work much harder to eliminate these problems.

  4. @Daryl Higgins – in AUS they don’t have a ton of gates, they’re scheduled to the max, and they don’t have access to alternates… harder there…

  5. ABIA needs to limit flights to what the physical plant can handle. Oh, and Austin leaders, it’s called ABIA (its name) not AUS (its airport code).
    They are jamming too many planes and people into a space designed for less. For what they want to spend expanding ABIA, maybe they should build another airport on the north side of town? Then they won’t be disrupting many existing airport businesses and breaking their word
    (who can ever trust these Austin leaders again?). Oh, and get off my lawn!

  6. AUS (or ABIA) has totally bungled its reception of fleeing Democrats from California.
    Goes to show that the state they come from is not the problem but the mindset.

    And, with all due respect, other airlines have been doing this for years.

    AA used to be a technology leader – but they aren’t anymore.

    DFW is still the most expansive airline hub operation in the world and it costs American hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

  7. meanwhile one of the other travel blogs is covering American’s 12 hour flight from DFW to Tokyo that ended up at LAX.

    AA blamed the reason on volcanic activity but every other other flight continued w/o problems.

    You win some, you lose some.

    Objectivity has value which is why smart readers get their news from multiple sources.

  8. Charlotte No Parking CHECK
    Construction Check
    Terrible Restaurants at Airport Check
    No Lounge Space Check
    No competition for AA Check
    Top 5 highest airfares in nation Check

  9. A new management team always introduces new programs that solve particular problems. Its what they do. Almost invariably new programs create problems in other areas that usually negate most if not all of the new program benefits.

    For example: “That taxi time really is making sure that we’re trying to gate the aircraft on the side of the airport that it actually lands.” Gates aren’t assigned after a plane lands. If AA can talk ATC into assigning arriving aircraft to visual and instrument approaches to runways based on a predetermined gate assignment, that might cut down on taxi time but cause delays in the air and additional costs for multiple aircraft.

    If AA can manage all of the moving and interrelated parts involved in its plan, good on them. Efficiency probably just comes down to having a motivated workforce that dose the basic blocking and tackling of turning an airplane as good as possible. But that takes real corporate effort.

  10. Recently missed a AA connection at DFW when my incoming plane taxied for 15 minutes, then waited 5 more minutes for gate to open. My out going connection left the gate 5 minutes early stranding 15 passengers who missed the same connection. Scandalous. As it was the last flight of the day, the best they could offer was standby for the next two days!! You’d think they’d think “hey we have 15 passengers including families with young kids off the same late flight trying to make this flight. Maybe we shouldn’t leave early”

  11. Back in the late 80s, as a young IT professional going thru training, I remember an AA computer program called “GATES” being given as an example of a practical real world use of AI technology (or, I suppose, what AI was considered to be back then). It was simpler, of course, I think the idea was to automate gate assignments to minimize average gate to gate distance for connecting passengers. But the point is, AA has been working on this problem for at least 35 years.

  12. Nowhere did I ever say that you were biased in favor of AA, Gary.
    I did say that it is strange that you complain so much about them and publish other people’s criticism of them and yet you still fly them.

  13. Best loyalty program and best partners for redemption. Do i want to redeem 200k to fly delta or 70k to fly qatar…hmm.

  14. @Tim Dunn – You flagged another blogger wrote up a single flight incident on AA while I wrote about Delta’s mass cancellations and suggested I was being unbalanced against Delta vs AA.

    As for AA, no airline has greater potential to be better than it is today. They have a much greater presence at my home airport than Delta. AAdvantage isn’t the dumpster fire that SkyMiles is. United is unflyable due to poor internet (though at least they have plans to change). And the Admirals Club agents at my home airport are better than any US airline club agents anywhere period. That makes up for a lot.

  15. I agree with Gary. “As for AA, no airline has greater potential to be better than it is today.”

    Offering advice to the new management team that American Airlines should “go out of business” is not practical. The current American Airlines leadership team needs some time to put out dumpster conflagrations and deliver improved and dependable services.

  16. Any thoughts to using fewer flights on certain routes by using larger airliners?Instead of 8 round trips per day use 4 round trips with larger capacity airliners.

  17. What a ridiculously run airline. All of these steps should have been taken BEFORE; it’s not like they’re due to a sudden increase in people calling in sick (mostly due to COVID, paying the price for the stupid government removal of the masks requirement) like with Delta.

  18. Yet another example of throwing a glass of water at a raging fire…..i.e. terrible operation. If for all this hoop la they gain a total of 10.5 hours in reduced taxi time at DFW, just factor in how many flights they operate daily there, and it is meaningless. Also, who much control does an individual carrier have over ATC in runway assignment at a massive hub like DFW?

  19. CHRIS and TIM, why is it necessary to infuse personal political opinions into a conversation about airline operations? It’s irrelevant to the conversation and really just shows each of you to be intolerant and petty.

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