Press Release

Airports, Industry Collaborate to Demonstrate Feasibility of "Intelligent Apron"

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2023

Alexandria, Va. —The American Association of Airport Executives’ (AAAE) Airport Consortium on Customer Trust (ACT) Program, comprised of innovative airport leaders and aviation industry experts, has released its summary findings of a digitization pilot sponsored by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). Supported by industry partners, the pilot aimed to investigate how the application of new technology could improve the efficiency, safety, and resiliency of airside operations throughout a commercial airport’s apron.

Through the use of video artificial intelligence and integrated systems, the pilot at the Texas airport sought to harmonize gate activity between the aircraft, airline operations, airport operations, and ground handlers. The real-time data enables use of predicative analytics to reduce aircraft turnaround times, minimize delays, improve planning, measure compliance, and enhance the safety and efficiency of the connected gates at busy airports.

“DFW is committed to digital transformation and working with AAAE and industry partners on initiatives like the intelligent apron that will enhance the customer journey and facilitate proactive operations,” said DFW Vice President, Information Technology Services, Michael Youngs. “DFW is proud to sponsor this project and excited to share the findings with our colleagues in the industry.”

“Our aim for this pilot was to establish the practicality and potential value of embarking on a transition to the intelligent apron with the technology that exists already today. This is not a 5-to-10-year vision, but a 2023 or 2024 solution to address today’s post-pandemic challenges,” added Tom Duffy, global business development advisor for ADB SAFEGATE. “It is amazing and also very gratifying to see what we can accomplish when the industry comes together in an open and non-commercial collaboration to solve common problems.”

This research summarizes the future possibilities for aviation regarding the intelligent apron and wider themes of digitization. Airports can use the research conducted at DFW to assess and determine the merits of digitizing apron operations at their facilities. The white paper provides examples of use cases, a sense of the potential business cases, and an overview of the technical feasibility. This pilot confirms technology and new tools exist today to enhance airside safety, and improve collaboration and transparency, of airport operations.

View the latest research.


ABOUT ACT: AAAE, with the support of CAG Holdings, LLC (CAG), a Carlyle backed company, created the ACT Program to evaluate and launch – with the backing of substantive industry expert partners – solutions in airports to address the near-, mid-, and long-term needs of the industry. It drives innovation, digitalization, thought leadership, and it helps airports pilot and research practical ways to meet critical needs. The ACT Steering Group, led by airport executives across the United States and Canada, identify and define the working group topics to pilot and study.

ABOUT AAAE: Founded in 1928, AAAE is the world's largest professional organization representing the individuals who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports. AAAE's 9,000 members represent over 850 airports and hundreds of companies and organizations that support the airport industry. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., AAAE serves its membership through results-oriented representation in Washington, D.C., and delivers a wide range of industry services and professional development opportunities, including training, conferences, and a highly respected accreditation program.

Joel D. Bacon
Executive Vice President, Government and Public Affairs

Jose Saavedra, C.M., M.E.
Director, Industry Programs

@ AAAEDelivers