Written in collaboration with Soufiane Daher from NACO

Aviation’s Challenges


Currently, the traffic is heavily reduced, and revenues fall significantly. As traffic starts to recover, in order for aviation to return to profitability, it will need to be more efficient and better able to handle more volume at a lower cost base than pre-pandemic.

Post-COVID, airports will have to turn to smart solutions that increase asset utilization rates and limit capital investments. Airports need to change from infrastructure providers to infrastructure and technology/data providers.


How will airports and airlines achieve climate goals with less financial means at their disposal? It will be important to look in more detail into the reduction of inefficiencies.


As the current crisis has forced airports and airlines to restructure their workforce, safety concerns are increasing.

It is important to improve safety levels, while managing the impact on operating cost. Sensor technologies, early warning systems and automation can help to solve this challenge.

The Smart Stand

We define a ‘smart stand’ as an aircraft stand that uses different technologies to reach some level of awareness, coordination and/or automation.

Infrastructure Awareness

Existing camera infrastructure and Computer Vision software can be used to capture data on what is happening at the apron. The camera acts as a single sensor to all objects in its field of view. This can be a very cost-efficient method for generating a wealth of data.

Coordination: The Airport Brain

The large amount of real-time data generated requires analysis by smart decision support systems. These can alert operators on predefined situations or take action autonomously. The data can also be used to predict future outcomes. Deviations from normal operations can be identified before they happen or as soon as they appear.


Automation can take very simple and effective forms. For example, a system alert automatically creates a job for an employee on duty instead of alerting their dispatcher first.

Another more physical form of automation is related to autonomous vehicles and objects, such as passenger bridges.

Given the expected growth of the aviation industry post-COVID, these technologies will be required as there will not be enough human labour to handle aircraft. These kinds of autonomous systems also create safety benefits.

Optimization of the entire airport system and execution of tasks by autonomous systems also means that there will be less inefficiency and, as a result, better sustainability.

Cost / Benefit Analysis

There should be a clear vision and understanding of the problem that the solution should solve.

We have set up the following fictitious example for review to demonstrate the market viability principle. Here, due to saturation, an airport is considering expanding its aircraft stand capacity. The airport will need to deploy new stands to absorb traffic growth, assuming the complete recovery of its traffic by 2023/2024.

For the sake of convenience, we have just taken into account the expense of constructing stands. In practice, in the case of remote stands being deployed, additional terminals and taxiways should be constructed and/or higher operating costs incurred.

Smart stands provide a flexible choice to ramp up capacity only when required, with continued uncertainty about post-Covid-19 traffic growth.

We carried out a research for one of the largest and most congested airports in Europe. The use of Machine Learning technology to optimize stand planning resulted in planning the busiest period of the year with 7 stands fewer than usual. Stand capacity increased by 9%, the required towing reduced by 30%, and bussing operations reduced by 50%.

Smart technologies and digitization are cost efficient solutions. They are viable alternatives for more traditional solutions like infrastructure expansion.

Contact us at ch@assaia.com if you are interested to find out how smart stand technology can be used to increase stand utilization rates and at your airport.


We are pleased to partner with Assaia to implement the ApronAI Turnaround Control solution at T4. This new solution will not only optimize operations and our work with our business partners, but will also help us to ensure a first-class customer experience at T4.

Roel Huinink
President and CEO, JFKIAT

For most airports, the apron is a a black box. Assaia finally gives our ground staff full insight into every turnaround. This allows them to focus on what really matters, while simultaneously making the work environment safer.

Jason Aspelund
Former Manager Strategic Performance, Alaska Airlines

The real-time and historical insights that can inform both airport and airline operations make this solution a clear winner for everyone.

Craig Paul
Director of Technology & Innovation , Halifax Stanfield International

Assaia's product allows airports and airlines to collect, track, and analyze data in real time; this innovation removes inefficiencies and optimizes performance.

Jim Lockheed
JetBlue Ventures

We’re creating the airport of the future, and innovation in apron operations will directly improve the passenger experience. We are laser focused on innovations that will make Pearson and its whole apron ecosystem more efficient while reducing our carbon footprint.

Deborah Flint
President and CEO GTAA

This data provides the single source of truth covering all turnaround operations. It is, therefore, an integral part of our Airport Collaborative Decision-Making initiative.

Darin Juby
Program Director, Digitalization, GTAA

SEA needed an innovative solution to our capacity problem and have worked with Assaia to optimize the turnaround process resulting in reduced taxi times and increased passenger satisfaction. Assaia has exceeded our expectations, consistently delivering on-time & on-budget.

Samer Tirhi
Airline Scheduling Coordinator, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

With the help of Predicted Off Block Time from Assaia. JFKIAT Operations can be proactive to reduce or eliminate any delays and gate holds

Stephen Tukavkin
VP IT & Digital, JFKIAT

I had mentioned before, great innovation on your part. With these types of improvements, T4 is always leading at JFK. Thank you

COPA Station Manager

We are proud to be partnering with the Assaia team in our mission to use technology to improve the efficiency and safety of the airport environment.

Raghbir S. Pattar
Director of Airports Transformation, IAG

We’re working hard on becoming an airport of the future, and this involves rethinking every part of our ground operations. Assaia’s ApronAI is an integral component of our vision for the ramp of the future.

Abhi Chacko
Head of Innovation & Commercial IT Services, Gatwick Airport

Assaia’s technology adds critical data points to CVG’s early-stage neural network for operational advancements. Structured data generated by artificial intelligence will provide information to make decisions, optimize airside processes, and improve efficiency and safety.

Brian Cobb
CIO, CVG Airport


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