As a joint owner of Swissport Japan, Marubeni Corporation has joined the Strategic Partner Community of Assaia. The investment agreement allows Marubeni to expand its exclusive distribution rights for ApronAI to Southeast Asia for the first time. Marubeni obtained these rights for the Japanese market in 2019.
How Apron AI Optimizes Ground Handling Operations
Apron AI specializes in aircraft turnaround optimization. It benefits airports, airlines, and ground handlers by driving growth, safety, efficiency, and sustainability. The ApronAI platform provides complete visibility of apron events for airports and ground handlers. It optimizes operational processes and enables collaborative decision-making by offering insights into every turnaround.
By utilizing existing surveillance cameras on the apron and applying AI computer vision, ApronAI allows ground handlers to improve performance. It monitors the real-time progress of ground-handling events. These include connecting the passenger boarding bridge, loading cargo, fueling aircraft, and guiding wing walkers.
Instead of individually controlling and holding critical operational information, ApronAI promotes collaboration. It simplifies information-sharing among airlines, ground handlers, operational staff, administrators, and control towers. The platform replaces visual observation and communication via walkie-talkies with real-time, automated alerts. This frees up employees’ time to focus on essential activities. ApronAI seamlessly integrates with diverse needs, providing real-time alerts proven to increase efficiency and safety.
Marubeni Joining Assaia Strategic Partner Community
“Marubeni’s investment in Assaia and their collaboration in the Strategic Partner Community is set to revolutionize ground handling across Southeast Asia.” said Max Diez, CEO of Assaia, “With the introduction of Apron AI, airports and ground handlers can expect enhanced operational processes, increased efficiency, and improved safety. This partnership signifies a significant step towards optimizing turnaround optimization and driving growth in the aviation industry in the region.”
Marubeni is expanding its exclusive distribution rights for ApronAI from Japan to Southeast Asia. In addition, Marubeni aims to combine ApronAI with the knowledge and solutions developed by Swissport Japan, a ground handling company in which Marubeni has a 51% ownership stake. Marubeni also has a 66% stake in AiRO Inc., a company focused on automating specialized ground support equipment in airports. This will accelerate the implementation of digital transformation in Marubeni’s airport businesses.
“This investment is an important milestone for us,” comments Satoshi Takechi, General Manager of Marubeni’s Aviation, Space & Defense Department. “It not only strengthens our partnership with Assaia but propels our airport business to expand in Southeast Asia, where we believe we can play a more vital role.”
Addressing a Critical Workforce Shortage
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant decline in global air travel, resulting in fewer people flying. This decline also affected the number of visitors coming to Japan. However, the Japanese government is optimistic and anticipates a rapid recovery. Their goal is to welcome 40 million visitors to the country by 2025, coinciding with the World Expo in Osaka. Furthermore, they project an increase to 60 million visitors by 2030. There is a shortage of airport staff, including ground handlers, which needs immediate attention. To tackle this issue, the government is exploring digital solutions as part of its efforts to modernize the industry.