News

MIRROR – a new & innovative flight visualisation tool that helps operational stakeholders predict and mitigate delays

Using MIRROR tool

EUROCONTROL’s visualisation tool MIRROR creates a sequence of flights for each aircraft in the European aviation network, enabling operational stakeholders to predict delays more accurately, and take measures to mitigate their impact. This increases the efficiency and sustainability of flights, and reduces the financial impact for airlines.

Developed with the help of more than 200 operational users, MIRROR goes live today together with a detailed user guide, after a successful beta trial period.

“As recovery builds, our common priority in the aviation sector is to offer optimum flight trajectories while keeping delays to a minimum. This is essential to ensure that we reduce aviation’s environmental impact as much as possible while allowing best performance also in terms of cost efficiency, benefitting flying passengers well as airlines. Our new MIRROR tool is the latest in a series of innovative business-to-business solutions developed by the EUROCONTROL Network Manager in order to support European aviation better.”

The late arrival of incoming aircraft – so-called “reactionary” delay – accounts for 40% of all delays in Europe. MIRROR directly tackles this, dynamically reflecting the impact of late arrivals in the context of network traffic, and increasing the tactical awareness of aircraft operators and airports. MIRROR gives them the time they need to take action to avert delays, such as by rerouting passengers, prioritising flights or ensuring extra resources for swift turnarounds.

MIRROR also improves the situational awareness for air navigation service providers by matching the information on the submitted ATC flight plans with the airlines’ commercial schedule. The tool also helps bridge the difference of focus between air traffic control and airlines, with ATC defining delays based on take-off time, whereas airlines are focused on punctual arrivals, especially since the entry into force of the Air Passenger Rights legislation (EU 261/2004), with late arrivals forming the basis of passenger compensation claims.

According to EU rules, if passengers arrive at their final destination with a delay of more than 3 hours, they are entitled to financial compensation, unless the delay was due to extraordinary circumstances. Being able to identify the potential build-up of reactionary delay hours in advance and mitigate its effects can reduce an airline’s financial burden substantially.

From summer 2021, the Network Operations Centre’s Airport Function will use MIRROR’s “watch list” to identify early and late flights, including potential curfew issues, to support airports’ and airlines’ efforts in mitigating delays and reducing associated costs.

As a next development, EUROCONTROL’s Bretigny Innovation Lab is currently working to enhance MIRROR using an artificial intelligence model to earlier detect and visualise flight delays that may clash with airports’ night-time curfew. The enhanced version will support the EUROCONTROL Network Manager Operations Centre in assisting airlines to meet their requirements for night-time restrictions.

Get access to MIRROR

To request access to MIRROR, operational stakeholders need to register– see the EUROCONTROL MIRROR project page for more details.

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