New HEAT Tool Will Help American Airlines Delay More, Cancel Fewer Flights

American Airlines is bringing the HEAT to reduce the number of flights they cancel during major weather events. HEAT stands for Hub Efficiency Analytics Tool and they’ve been using it in Dallas Fort Worth (aka ‘Doesn’t Function Wet’) and Charlotte.

At an employee meeting this month Managing Director of the American Airlines Integrated Operations Center Steve Olson shared the details.

Up until now really we’ve had only two ways to address irregular operations in advance. One is to cancel, the other is to engage our partners at ATC and issue ground delay programs or ground stops.

We now have a third lever that we can pull in advance for irregular operations and that’s called HEAT, it’s the Hub Efficiency Analytics Tool. In a nutshell what it does it allow us to delay our way out of the weather.

It’s a very sophisticated technology that looks at crew data, customer connecting data, as well as airport resources and it synthesizes that into a plan where we can take our big arrival and departure banks at some of our large locations and delay them for a period of time to where weather is not impacting the airport.

This has enormous benefits namely that we’re going to cancel less. We’ve had this technology in place for about a month. We’ve used it 5 times already. We’ve seen very good results. We think this is going to help us improve reliability namely at our two large locations where we operate namely Dallas and Charlotte.

Delta is known for its willingness to delay flights for days rather than cancel them. This new tool should help American be more like Delta – but just in the hub airports where they dominate. Seymour later offered “you gotta own the airport to make it worthwhile otherwise you’re not making much of a change.”

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  1. I don’t see this as being new. Several years ago, before they tried not banking, they would take inbound/outbound complexes early in the day where there were problems and move them all back accordingly – 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 90 minutes, etc.
    Now it would seem each bank would have to be moved back just like they did in the past or else the banks are going to stack up on each other and the inbounds are going to have nowhere to park.

  2. Didn’t realize the airlines requested ATC ground stops and traffic management programs

    Not sure I get the impression Delta does a better job with severe situations as a passenger – a 6 hour plus delay that rolls an hour at a time is worse than an outright cancellation many times if not most. That said not cancelling might prevent further downstream disruptions, but rolling delays are a maddening experience.

  3. American should just shut down. Let Delta and United pick up the scraps.

    The industry will do just fine without Charlotte, Philly or Phoenix hubs.

  4. A joke of an airline. It’s nothing new, they’ve had these tools for year. They should stop operating instead of renaming existing tools. The way their finances are going, they probably won’t have a choice soon enough.

    What a disgrace for the USA.

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