#50 Christiaan Hen, Assaia: AI and aviation's "pit stops"

#50 Christiaan Hen, Assaia: AI and aviation's "pit stops"

In this episode we talk about something that has great relevance to traditional aviation, and that will become increasingly important to drone and other AAM concepts as their operations increase in scale and complexity – which is utilization of the most important physical assets in aviation -> aircraft and ground infrastructure. We have the pleasure of doing a deep dive into this interesting topic with Christiaan Hen, Chief Customer Officer at Assaia, a company with the vision to improve safety, efficiency, and capacity of the air transportation system by bringing transparency and order to ground operations.

We start the conversation with an analysis of the process of turning aircraft around at airport gates: the different parts of the process, the relevant metrics, the various stakeholders involved, and the limitations of existing methods used to manage the turnaround process and broadly gate management. As the scale of commercial air operations increased over the past several decades, with the corresponding commoditization of air travel, the pressure on the air transportation system to increase efficiency while maintaining safety has never been higher. Add capacity constraints at airports that are responsible for the majority of traffic, labor shortages, and ambitions to decarbonize aviation, and you quickly realize the importance of doing more with less, and to do it more predictably and consistently. Most of our conversation with Chris is about how to achieve that. 

As we discuss the benefits of Assaia’s solutions to existing aviation stakeholders, we draw parallels to AAM and how this is a market that will require greater transparency and optimization of ground operations – think high density drone operations, but with the benefit of freedom in infrastructure models and technology stacks that are not burdened with outdated legacy IT systems.

We also talk about the differences between Europe and North America as it relates to airport operations, state of the market, and willingness to invest in new technologies. 


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