Automating flight plan processing with AI

AI has significantly helped our EUROCONTROL Network Manager improve flight plan processing.

The past few years have seen the EUROCONTROL Network Manager (NM) operations staff working hard to increase the number of flight plans that are automatically processed. Each time the system could not process a flight plan it required manual intervention and act on the flight request – a time-consuming and expensive business.

Evolving the automatic pass rate by traditional methods saw only a very small improvement – NM processed 96.32% of all flight plans automatically in 2014, rising to 96.79% in 2016. In 2017 data science techniques were introduced to identify specific and complex patterns that could be automated. By end 2017, NM was recording automated processing rates of 98%; in the summer 2019 it increased to 99.5%.

A 1.5% increase may not seem very much, but with more than 30,000 flight plans a day being processed, it meant a significant reduction of workload in the operations room.