UK LCC easyJet is looking to further streamline aircraft turnaround performance by using inertia sensors to detect the exact timings of boarding and disembarkation.

Speaking at MRO Europe in London, easyJet head of maintenance operations Aidan Kearney said the sensor data reveals subtle changes in aircraft pitch as passengers move on and off the aircraft.

“You can’t mess with this data; it doesn’t depend on gate-agent reports,” he said. “This is something we’re starting to investigate now.”

At London Gatwick Airport, cameras have also been fitted to some stands. When this visual footage is combined with the sensor data, it gives an even richer picture of the turnaround process.

“We are trying to take the ambiguity out of the turnaround,” Kearney said, adding that there is no absolute record of when the first passenger enters the aircraft. “We are trying to take that kind of guesswork out of it.”

“There’s up to 20,000 different parameters that can come off the Airbus A320,” he noted. “We’re just trying to tap that to find the parameters that we need to give us better measurements and better turnarounds. It is a work in progress. We’re looking at well into next year.”

Victoria Moores, victoria.moores@informa.com