A Better Vantage Point

American utilizes touch-screen technology to provide customer with real-time information

On any given day, your closest airport handles hundreds – if not thousands – of incoming and departing flights. Needless to say, choreographing the ground movement and placement of such a multitude of flights is an enormous undertaking.

Sometimes, we have to quickly adjust flight plans due to circumstances (such as severe weather) that are beyond human control. For example, say the city of Chicago experiences an early morning snow shower. A plane parked there for the first flight to Miami subsequently needs to be de-iced. This critical safety precaution takes extra minutes on the tarmac that can potentially delay the landing time in Miami or result in a gate change. Depending on the weather severity, the domino effect may continue, since planes often stop in multiple cities on a daily basis.

When aircraft land or are taxiing to a runway, historically, we (and other airlines) have monitored their movement through paper-based systems. Little pieces of paper the size of a domino called “pucks” represent each aircraft and contain relevant flight information. Unfortunately in a changing environment, the flight details on the puck can quickly become outdated.

Several years ago, American began testing a proprietary touch-screen based technology that provides the tower with real-time and current information about your flight, including flight numbers, gate assignments, anticipated departure and arrival times and assigned positioning on any given airport field.

This technology, called VantagePoint, represents an important milestone for managing aircraft ground traffic and creating accurate situational awareness. It is a technological quantum leap that takes the tower from using paper pucks to digital displays.

The VantagePoint screen is divided into two sections: arriving flights and the airport landscape. The arriving flights are listed in expected order of arrival so that the traffic planner can look into the future and plan which and when aircraft will be taxiing into the area they are controlling. The same is true for aircraft at a gate. 

VantagePoint also assists with baggage information. It allows the traffic planner to see in real time the percentage of bags and passengers that are currently onboard. 

VantagePoint helps paint a bigger picture thanks to easily accessible data that empowers employees to make better informed decisions. The more real-time data we can offer employees, the more that you, as the traveler, ultimately benefit.

To date, we have successfully introduced VantagePoint displays at American’s tower controls at the Dallas/Fort Worth International, Chicago O’Hare International and Miami International airports. We are looking closely at other airports that could also benefit from VantagePoint, which is just one of many industry-leading technology initiatives we are developing to ensure a smooth travel experience.

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