ADB SAFEGATE has provided automation and improved information sharing systems at Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport to enhance gate operations and traffic flow.

DFW is the 12th busiest airport in the world by passengers and has seen a record year in 2018 serving more than 69 million passengers. DFW has been operating ADB SAFEGATE’s Safedock advanced visual docking guidance systems (A-VDGS) for more than 10 years and has come to rely on the system’s 3D laser scanning technology to ensure safe and efficient automated aircraft docking during regular and irregular operations.

Automated docking helps mitigate delays and disruption during thunderstorm events by bringing aircraft into the gate and deplaning passengers during periods when the ramp is closed to ground personnel due to lightning.

Since the initial installation in 2008, DFW has expanded use of the Safedock system to include all gates at four of the airport’s five terminals. Now the airport has contracted with ADB SAFEGATE to update A-VDGS on terminals A, B, C and D with newer technology and add docking systems on gates at Terminal E.

When installation is complete on Terminal E, DFW will be the first US airport to have A-VDGS on every gate. In addition to supplying and commissioning the docking systems, ADB SAFEGATE has been asked to connect the new A-VDGS to the airport’s existing SafeControl Apron Management system.

“Our 2008 installation at DFW was a key project in our company’s history. It was the first airport / airline A-VDGS collaboration and introduced the ability to dock and deplane aircraft during lightning events in the US. Expanding the use of our solutions airport-wide will help DFW ensure the same consistent, safe and efficient airside operation for all its carriers,” said Joe Pokoj, CEO, ADB SAFEGATE Americas.

In 2011, DFW was ADB SAFEGATE’s launch customer for the SafeControl Apron Management (SAM) system. SAM interfaces to airport and airline flight information systems to provide management of the apron, Ramp Information Display System (RIDS) capability, real-time gate status, turn milestones and historical data.

Integration of the SAM system at DFW to improve safety and efficiency includes the following:

  • The SAM system manages messaging to Safedock RIDS and the airport RIDS to communicate flight and turn information to crews to help streamline the turn process
  • An interface with the airport’s weather system signals an alert via SAM to publish a “RAMP CLOSED” RIDS message when there is lightning in the area
  • Integration with airline systems allows SAM to publish a “HOLD” RIDS message when late connecting bags are on their way
  • A light indicator installed on all gate podiums indicates when there is a ramp closure or when the gate has late connecting bags
  • An unexpected aircraft park feature detects when unscheduled aircraft are towed to a gate to reflect actual occupancy and improve situational awareness

A total of 39 of the original docking systems on Terminal D have already been replaced with new systems. DFW purchased an additional A-VDGS that was installed at the airport’s headquarters building for employee awareness and internal training. The installations at terminals A, B, C and E will begin in 2019 and be completed in phases over the next few years.

DFW has also been a long-time user of ADB SAFEGATE airfield solutions, including airfield lighting control and monitoring systems (ALCMS), airfield power solutions and thousands of runway and taxiway lights; both elevated and inset.