American Airlines uses Safedock docking guidance to minimize tarmac delays and improve ramp operations at all of its major U.S. hubs

Since its first Safedock A-VDGS installation in 2007, American Airlines has appreciated the benefits in cost savings, efficiency and improved customer experience because of the system’s ability to significantly minimize delays during irregular operating conditions. Today, American Airlines uses Safedock docking guidance systems on nearly 400 gates at its largest U.S. hub airports in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Miami and New York (JFK), and is expanding the technology to other focus markets.

Today, American Airlines uses Safedock docking guidance systems on nearly 400 gates at its largest U.S. hub airports in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Miami and New York (JFK), and is expanding the technology to other focus markets.

“To me, the docking system paid for itself the first time a thunderstorm hit and our workers were inside, but the airplanes were still parking, said Rob Cumley, manager of ramp services for American Airlines at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. “We and our passengers aren’t out on a taxiway holding with the engines running until the weather clears.” – Chicago Tribune

A valuable tool
Using a high performance laser range finder, 3D scanning technique and LED display, Safedock guides American Airlines pilots to within 10 cm of the stop position in a consistent, safe and time-saving manner, regardless of the weather, time of day or size of the aircraft. The built-in efficiency of the automated system gets aircraft to the gate without delay and provides tools to turn the aircraft faster, saving time and resources. Ground crew are used more efficiently and fuel burn and emissions are reduced.

American Airlines is ADB SAFEGATE’s largest customer in the U.S.
A-VDGS systems have become the standard in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and are rapidly gaining momentum in the U.S. Not only is American ADB SAFEGATE’s largest U.S. customer, but the airline has become an important strategic partner by driving innovation to better serve the needs airlines and airports.

In 2008, American Airlines and the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport (D/FW) worked with Safegate Airport Systems (now ADB SAFEGATE) to pioneer the ability to dock and deplane aircraft when the ramp was closed due to lightning. Now, with more than 150 docking systems installed in Dallas, American Airlines and D/FW have installed SafeControl Apron Management and were key participants in its development.

More recently, ADB SAFEGATE worked closely with American Airlines to develop and deliver the first multi-station SafeControl Apron Management system deployed anywhere in the world. The airline sees significant benefit in the fact that there is a single connection from their systems to Sam that covers a growing number of stations. The multi-station system gives American a centralized view of their major hub operations and provides the ability to monitor activity and control functions from one system. The system also includes reporting and data analytics capabilities that were important to the airline.

Integration provides reliable, timely and accurate data
At D/FW, SafeControl Apron Management is integrated with both the airline and airport’s flight information systems to provide management of the apron, real-time information and historical data to both American Airlines and the airport. The data link between the docking systems and the information systems offers timely and accurate data that can be used in real-time for improved gate management and over time for better gate planning.

American also uses Safedock’s RIDS (ramp information display system) capability to display critical flight information to ground and flight crew via the LED display whenever the A-VDGS isn’t actively docking aircraft. At D/FW, the SafeControl Apron Management system manages messaging to and from the Safedock RIDS, as well as a third party RIDS. To further improve communication during the turn process, American uses the RIDS feature to display a “Last Bag” message when last bags are on their way. In Chicago, the only American hub that deices at the gate, the SafeControl Apron Management system displays customized messages to inform and alert ground and flight crews of the deicing process.

In Charlotte, American uses Safedock’s GPU interface capability to enforce ground power use to minimize fuel burn and emissions. SafeControl Apron Management sends an email notification and displays a message on the system monitor whenever an aircraft is not connected to the GPU within a selected number of minutes of on block time. When the aircraft is connected, a “GPU On” message is sent to the Safedock display. American also uses the RIDS capability to display a variety of preformatted safety messages.

American also uses the system’s integration capabilities to automatically close ramps and ensure safety when there is lightning in the area. An interface with American’s weather system allows SafeControl Apron Management to receive an alert to close ramps and send a “RAMP CLOSED” message to the Safedock displays. Ground personnel are alerted immediately, and out of harm, while the Safedock system continues to park aircraft.

ADB SAFEGATE is a leading provider of intelligent solutions that deliver superior airport performance from approach to departure. We partner with airports and airlines to analyze their current structures and operations, and jointly identify and solve bottlenecks. Our consultative approach enables airports to improve efficiency, enhance safety and environmental sustainability, as well as reduce operational costs. Our portfolio includes solutions and services that harmonize airport performance, tackling every aspect of traffic handling and guidance, from approach, runway and taxiway lighting, to tower-based traffic control systems and intelligent gate and docking automation. ADB SAFEGATE has 900+ employees in more than 20 countries and serves some 2,500+ airports in more than 175 countries.