NASA Tool Helps Airlines Minimize Weather Delays

The DWR tool is tested at an American Airlines control center (NASA)
A NASA-developed tool, Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR), is designed to alleviate weather-induced air traffic interruptions. The computer software tool is programmed to constantly analyze air traffic throughout the National Airspace System, along with the ever-shifting movements of weather severe enough to require an airliner to make a course change.

When the DWR tool finds an opportunity for an airliner to fly more efficiently to its destination, the computer rings an alert to an airline flight dispatcher. American Airlines has been evaluating DWR since 2012. Feedback from the airline indicates an estimated savings of 3,355 flying minutes for 538 American Airlines flights from July 2012 through September 2014, or about 6.2 minutes per flight on average.

Much of the work on DWR, and other air traffic management tools, takes place at the North Texas Research Station (NTX), a joint NASA/FAA laboratory located near the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, where NASA works with the FAA to develop and implement advanced concepts and technologies required for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).