American Airlines cut the ribbon on a new virtual control center Wednesday. Management says it's the first of its kind for the airline and the first of its kind at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. They promise it will help get more travelers where they're going on time.
To do it, they moved agents from a control tower that looked down on the gates into the same 10,000 square-foot facility that now holds all American operations at D/FW.
"Anyone who has anything to do with your flight experience is housed in this facility to coordinate that effort," said Cedric Rockamore, vice president of DFW Hub Operations at American Airlines.
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The move brings a dozen departments together under one roof.
"There are actually people who are looking at their travel collectively making sure they get from A to B. So when there's a disruption, there's someone there to recover and make sure things go smoothly," Rockamore said.
They're also crediting new efficiency on a virtual wall made up of 22 55-inch screens. It replaces the windows that gave them a limited view in the old tower. Now, agents can see the gates from a 360-degree viewpoint in one quick glance.
"It's a nice change. It's a big change," said ramp controller Paula Keller. "It's just making sure I'm moving everything as efficiently and safely as I can."
Rockamore says it's about leveraging technology in a collaborative effort to serve the customer.
"We're on this relentless mission to improve the customer experience. Part of that is making sure employees have the tools they need to do that," Rockamore said.
Representatives from American Airlines and D/FW Airport both say they hope this center can serve as a model to other airlines and airports in the future.