Posted December 7, 2023

Given the complexities involved with airline operations, air traffic management, air defense, and everything in-between, you might assume that major U.S. airlines and the U.S. government use only the most sophisticated, best-in-class technology to handle their flight and operations planning. The reality, however, is that these software systems are often brittle and out-of-date, rendering them unfit to keep up with new levels of operational complexity in the National Airspace System, as well as threats by adversaries.

They are also built upon legacy infrastructure with little room for new or forecasted inputs, making it difficult to proactively make changes or adjustments to anything across the logistical stack. Some of the most mission-critical air operation workflows still depend on IBM green screens, printed charts, and applications that lack data integrity. This makes it very difficult for airlines to dynamically adapt to weather and traffic management changes, and other avoidable (or easily remediated) disruptions.

This is bad news for a safe, efficient, and secure National Airspace System. We are seeing more near collisions on runways, and a shortage of air traffic controllers strains the overall system and causes delays and cancellations. Increasingly variable weather causes chaos for pilots when flying and, in the worst case, leaves travelers stranded. Beyond that, it leaves mission-critical infrastructure and our national security at risk. 

Enter Air Space Intelligence (ASI), a modern aerospace company addressing the software crisis in aerospace in both the enterprise and government sectors. ASI’s first product, Flyways AI, acts as an AI-powered air operations platform for airspace surveillance, flight monitoring and optimization. It enhances decision-making between air traffic control coordinators, flight dispatchers, and pilots by fusing hundreds of data sources, such as aircraft position reports, flight information updates, FAA feeds, weather forecasts, and other software systems. This allows air operators to optimize their network and flight operations, leading to significant time and fuel savings, and increased situational awareness that can enhance safety for everyone. 

That’s just the start of what ASI is able to do, and what they will offer air operators. The platform continues to gain momentum, now supporting not just flight dispatchers and operations staff, but also pilots in the cockpit. Ubiquity of in-cockpit connectivity opens up a host of new capabilities for pilots and operations centers to provide situational awareness and continuous collaboration to better optimize the flight experience. Beyond that, ASI has built a data processing platform that enables better visibility, safety, and forecasting for airlines. Many of those same benefits extend into other customer segments, including the Department of Defense.

We first came across ASI during their Series A raise, and have been able to track the company since then. Co-founder Phillip Buckendorf has built an incredible team and succeeded in selling into a historically challenging market with impressive strategic contracts. They have strong enterprise traction with commercial airlines and are moving quickly in the government sector, taking their predictive and dynamic technology to our most critical institutions. 

When talking with customers, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive — air operators commented that going back to a time before ASI would be like going from a smart phone back to a flip phone. ASI’s early customers have already saved millions of dollars in fuel alone, and the company has quickly been awarded government contracts and is rapidly working to upgrade military flight operations. There is tremendous customer pull for more products and features, and we think ASI is well positioned to improve the whole stack of air operations and logistics for both the private and public sectors. 

It’s rare for industry outsiders to gain traction in both major commercial airlines and the U.S. Air Force — organizations that have seen limited change for decades. ASI’s early success is a true testament to the caliber of the team and their technology. Phillip and his team are relentless executors with experience in building complex routing and predictive software in the automotive industry, and have taken that experience and applied it to our most challenging and dynamic environments.

They are also opening a new office in Washington, D.C., and are hiring. Check out their jobs page here!

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