The Four Benefits of Highly Accurate Weather Data for Airports & Airlines

Accuracy is essential when dealing with something as unpredictable as the weather. Tomorrow’s forecast is 99% likely to be accurate; up to five days ahead, the accuracy is in the 90%+ range. But after five days it drops to 80%, and after nine days it drops to 60% accuracy.


In terms of accuracy, there are differences between freely available sources and high-quality data. This improvement is due to the combination of data sources, weather models, forecasting systems, specialists, and technologies, which weather experts rely on to improve the accuracy of their forecasting.


These factors are why companies choose to work with specialist weather companies.


Let’s take a look in more detail at the ways accurate weather can help:


1. Increase safety on runways & aircraft


What’s the risk: The number one priority for airports and airlines is safety. Wintery conditions, if not adequately managed, will also cause an increased safety risk for passengers and crew.


How accurate weather can help: Using hyperlocal data to highlight the lowest runway surface temperatures, black ice, hoar frost, snow, sleet, and freezing rain. This information helps to make informed runway clearing decisions and avoids unnecessary treatments.


It also improves flight safety, as clear ice is not easy to determine during plane inspections before flight. Clear ice alerts improve flight safety by highlighting dangerous wing conditions.



2. Minimize flight delays & cancellations


What’s the risk: Unnecessary aircraft de-icing and runway treatments cause flight delays. Likewise, failing to predict conditions accurately can also cause delays and even cancellations, if not enough resources are available to treat aircraft and runways promptly.


How accurate weather can help: 36-hour and 5-day forecasts support snow clearing and aircraft de-icing planning and resource allocation. Multi-point measurements and modeling identify local differences across the airport, while real-time monitoring enables high-quality local forecasts and rapid responses to conditions.


3. Improve runway treatment & de-icing operations to reduce costs


What’s the risk: Unoptimized runway treatments and aircraft de-icing leads to poor resource planning and increased costs, as more people and materials are used than needed for de-icing and anti-icing operations. 


How accurate weather can help: Runway and wing-specific weather models developed with the benefit of 20+ years of forecasting experience show location-specific runway and wing temperatures and condition forecasts in hourly time steps for the next 36 hours, and 3-hourly time steps for the next five days. These forecasts help to plan de-icing actions and required equipment and to estimate long-term personnel needs and chemical material stock. Wing condition forecasting also allows you to optimize preventive anti-icing activities and resource planning.



4. Decrease environmental impact


What’s the risk: All aircraft and runway de-icing and anti-icing operations have an environmental impact. Minimizing these activities and only treating aircraft and runways when necessary helps to decrease the effect on the environment.


How accurate weather can help: Minimizing gritting and aircraft de-icing activities reduces your environmental footprint. Precise weather data means you know when conditions require de-icing and anti-icing - and also when you don’t need to do these activities.



Forecast accuracy and trust in this accuracy are vital for decision-makers. The more accurate the weather forecast is, the more confident people feel at making the tough calls. It’s only with accuracy that companies can realize the four benefits.


Want to find out more? Download our Aviation weather forecasting guide below.


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