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Flight risk assessment

The airline Virgin Atlantic is using a new flight risk assessment system. The product will assist Virgin Atlantic in risk assessing each flight through its own flight planning tools by using data gathering and analytics and machine learning. The product firm Osprey Flight Solutions says a huge amount of data is required for a thorough risk assessment and the traditional, manual risk assessment model process can be slow, unscalable, inconsistent and subjective.

By integrating Osprey’s software into their flight planning, Virgin’s security and flight operations teams can more quickly risk assess every flight. Osprey gathers data from over 200,000 sources in 60 languages; each item is multi-source corroborated, categorised, date-correlated and geo-located before being submitted to the company’s database of over 380,000 aviation security and safety incidents and events, comprised of over three million data points. Osprey’s system operates 24/7, collecting, filtering and analysing the data and identifying patterns. Artificial intelligence (AI) such as machine learning mean sure the software can accept any information feed, manual or automated. Osprey provides a spectrum of feeds from rapid threat alerts, through live-time incident assessment to customizable reports.

As for overflight risk assessment: the globe is divided into blocks, each assigned a dynamic altitude dependent assessment, so the risk picture airlines receive is not constrained by country borders or Flight Information Region (FIR) boundaries. The system allows the overlay of other data sets, such as terrain altitude and population density, allowing the identification of hidden indicators and their impact so that airlines can conduct the most robust risk assessment of route options, and potentially save time, fuel and CO2 burn.

Nigel Williams, Head of Security at Virgin Atlantic said: “Virgin Atlantic Airways is committed to maintaining the highest standards in aviation security and delighted to be using Osprey’s innovative technologies to enhance our risk-based security management system. Their data-led analysis is the future of risk management for the aviation industry and is now a key element of our security and risk decision making.” And Andrew Nicholson, CEO at Osprey Flight Solutions, said: “Osprey is delighted to have a major UK Commercial Operator and industry leader like Virgin Atlantic onboard. We believe our solution is unique in aviation in the detail and speed at which it provides risk assessors with the information they need and we look forward to continuing to support improving standards of risk management in the industry.”

Nicholson, former Global Security Director and head of Aviation Security for MedAire, launched the company in November 2017. Visit


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