Watch Out It’s Going to be a Bumpy Ride

photo_Stephanie-Sullivan_New_65x85by Stephanie Sullivan, Consultant

Climate change could begin to increasingly affect some of the most traveled flight routes across the world. According to CNN “new research shows that climate change will cause more turbulence for transatlantic fliers by the middle of this century, and possibly lead to higher costs for airlines and passenger.” It’s estimated that turbulence could increase 40 – 170% along transatlantic routes, but so far only routes along the heavily traveled Atlantic corridor have been studied. In the future scientists hope to analyze other heavily traveled regions of the world and determine the effects of disruptive turbulence.

Intensifying turbulence could account for increased airport delays, increased fuel consumption, and higher ticket prices. According to Paul Williams, from the department of meteorology at the University of Reading, turbulence costs an estimated $150 million each year as a result of injured passengers and damage to aircrafts.

On a positive note atmospheric scientists are becoming better at predicting turbulence in advance, so that flights can be re-routed, but technology will play a critical part to improving flight routes.

According to British Airways “the technology and training to predict, avoid and mitigate turbulence has improved hugely over the past 20 years and we would expect that pattern to continue into the future.” The airline has already invested heavily in training their pilots and acquiring equipment to help predict turbulence patterns.

However, this is a definite opportunity for COTS vendors to provide the FAA and airlines predictive tools and capabilities to meet the needs of growing turbulence concerns.

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