Artificial Intelligence Improves Aircraft Handling at BER

April 4, 2024
German Minister for Digital and Transport learns about pioneering project at the airport.

Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH (BER) is the first in Germany to have an intelligent, innovative system in operation to optimize handling processes on the airport apron. The digital turnaround system uses live cameras and self-learning, AI-based software to analyze aircraft handling in real time. The system makes recommendations to the operational decision-makers at the airport control center (ACC) in the event of delays or deviations. Process partners can then react without delay, make changes and handle aircraft more efficiently to further increase punctuality and efficiency at BER. This will allow work processes at the aircraft to be optimized, resulting in greater stability in the flight schedule and increased punctuality,

“We are delighted to be the first airport in Germany to put this innovative, AI-based software into operation today. Digitalization is not an end in itself, but should create added value. With Digital Turnaround, we as an airport are contributing to the more efficient use of the infrastructure, more stable handling by process partners, therefore also improving the travel experience for passengers. The software solution also uses AI to help our employees maintain an overview of the parallel, diverse, time-critical processes and make the right decisions," said Aletta von Massenbach, chief executive officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH.

“We need artificial intelligence in aviation to remain competitive at international level. This is the only way we can react to staff shortages in a targeted manner, optimize the use of limited infrastructure and, in doing so, reduce costs in the long term. I am delighted that the capital airport is one of the pioneers in this area and one of the first in the world to use AI for aircraft handling. Digital technologies are key to dealing with the growth in air traffic and enabling smooth handling in the future, even at peak times." said Dr. Volker Wissing, federal minister for digital and transport.

In the first phase, 16 handling positions close to the terminal have been equipped with cameras and connected to the system; a further 33 positions will be added over the summer. The TurnaroundControl software from the company Assaia is used.