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blogMarch 24th 2023 • 5 m read

FAA mandates Airport Safety Management System

Apron AI integrates with SMS to reduce unsafe events with a combination of alerts, real-time and historical safety data

In an effort to increase safety measures at major airports across the United States, the FAA has made an important ruling. This mandates the implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS) at airports with more than 100,000 operations per year, airport hubs, and airports with international traffic. This ruling has been put in place following a series of safety incidents in recent years and is effective April 24, 2023, with a phased implementation expected. With 265 airports across the country meeting the criteria for this ruling, this marks a significant move towards ensuring the safety of air travelers.

In March, 200 safety leaders gathered to discuss safety in the aviation industry. The discussion covered implementation plans for Safety Management Systems (SMS), an approach that goes beyond conventional manual inspections and audits. The SMS system will identify potential hazards, formulate mitigation strategies, promote continuous safety improvements, and build a robust airport ecosystem. The objective is to limit the possibilities of accidents and incidents, making air travel safer for all.

Technology underpins the pillars of an SMS

Airports prioritize safety as a top concern, and ensuring adherence to policies is essential. AI and computer vision can revolutionize this process by providing real-time information and historical data, identifying potential hazards, and fostering communication and collaboration. With these technologies, the goal isn't just adherence to policy, but continuous improvement and a rigorous cycle of safety.
four_sms_components.jpg Source: FAA

  • Risk assessment: AI can analyze data from various sources, including air traffic, security systems, weather, and operational data (baggage, passengers, etc) to identify potential and real time safety risks and hazards.
  • Video surveillance: AI-powered video surveillance systems can be used to monitor airports for potential safety hazards, such as noncompliance with operational and safety procedures both airside and landside. The technology can also identify suspicious behavior or objects, and alert security personnel to potential threats.
  • Predictive analytics: AI can analyze data from a range of sources to identify patterns and trends that could indicate potential safety concerns.
  • Decision support systems: AI can be used to provide decision support to airport operators and authorities. For example, AI-powered systems can help airport staff assess the potential impact of weather events or other disruptions and make informed decisions about resource management and on time performance.
  • Predictive maintenance: AI can be used to analyze data from aircraft and airport equipment to identify patterns of wear and tear.

Assaia: a critical solution for your SMS strategy.

Assaia ApronAI uses computer vision to detect events from airport video streams and leverages untapped operational data to bring efficiency, safety and sustainability to the turnaround. Assaia's Risk Control proactively safeguards airports by continuously monitoring the apron for unsafe behaviour. With real-time and historical safety data, staff can be trained to efficiently recognize potential threats while feeding this information into existing Safety Management Systems, optimising airport security even further.

Beyond this, Assaia has taken on an influential role in the industry by hosting a Safety Roundtable, where airlines and airports share best practices and insights on how AI and CV can make their environments even safer.

Assaia's real-time monitoring capabilities are broad. From ensuring proper aircraft positioning and monitoring engine conditions to keeping a watchful eye on ground operations like fueling, cone position and crew compliance, Assaia's technology is a game-changer. The value is its ability to identify deviations from standard operating procedures which could prove to be unsafe and trigger real time alerts to prevent incidents and accidents.

Assaia safety dashboard

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Assaia’s dashboard offers safety situational awareness providing information to continuously improve processes and policies while feeding data into the SMS.

Assaia seamlessly integrates data across stakeholders and systems, including building management, collaborative decision making (ACDM), operational and safety systems, and the Airport Operational Control Center to ensure that all elements leverage the data to work together seamlessly and safely.

But Assaia goes beyond mere integration. The system's historical analysis of unsafe behaviors helps identify root causes of incidents, paving the way for continuous improvement of policies and procedures, and triggering tailored training programs to address specific areas of interest. This goes well beyond the traditional reliance on manual inspections and audits to enforce policies.

By using artificial intelligence, computer vision, and integrated data, Assaia identifies patterns and trends with granularity that has never been seen before in the industry.

Decreased unsafe behavior by 50%

With Assaia, airports have decreased occurrences of unsafe behavior by 50%. According to standard operating procedures, the ground handler must check the stand after a turnaround has ended and the aircraft has left to prevent any incidents or delays for the next inbound aircraft.
no stand check.png

The blue line in the graphic represents a moving average while the green line is the weekly average. We can see that in the first week, the post departure stand check was not observed for nearly 60% of all flights. After deploying the ApronAI, this number trended downward and in the last week of the observation period, this check was not carried out for only 24% of flights. For this specific case, unsafe behavior decreased by more than 50%.

Safety from the start

The quest for safer airport operations is on the rise, and innovative solutions are emerging to make this possible. Artificial intelligence and computer vision are now being integrated into Safety Management Systems to help reduce any risks and ensure compliance.

Assaia's Risk Control proactively monitors the airport apron for unsafe behavior with a combination of real-time and historical safety data. By empowering staff with the tools to readily identify and act on potential risks, airports can keep their compliance track record spotless while staying one step ahead in a constantly-evolving landscape.

Get in touch to join our upcoming safety roundtable or to learn more about integrating Assaia into your SMS. Please, reach out to info@assaia.com to request an invitation. Note this is only open to US airlines and airports at present.