VDGS Project



The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Programme is the technological pillar of the single European sky. This Programme aims to improve the performance of air traffic management by modernising and harmonising management systems through the definition, development and dissemination of innovative technological solutions and standardised operational processes.


VDGS - Visual Docking Guidance System (Optical Guides) Project

Aeroporti di Roma, has joined the SESAR Programme by identifying projects that make it possible to achieve objectives of digitalisation, innovation, modernisation and development that allow Fiumicino airport to increase the management capacity of airport traffic. 

Aeroporti di Roma, with the funding received from CINEA as part of the Connecting Europe Facility 2016 call, is developing the VDGS project which aims to equip Fiumicino aircraft stands with a latest generation optical guide system. The optical guides guide the pilot safely during the entry, exit and stop manoeuvres on the stand. They are integrated with the airport database through management software and are supported by screens that provide useful information to pilots and handlers for flight preparation.

The optical guide and the sharing screen are located at each stand that houses the aircraft parked between landing and take-off. This system makes it possible to recognise the entry and exit of the aircraft on the stand, providing essential information to the pilot in order to support him in the decisions to be taken in handling. The panel also provides information that increases pilots’ awareness of ground operations, preparing them for the early stages of take-off. The integration with the management software allows for the real-time reception of data relating to the movement of the aircraft and sharing with the airport database, so that the data can also be used by other airport systems.

As of 2017, Aeroporti di Roma has initiated and concluded certain implementation activities relating to the VDGS project at Fiumicino Airport.

The initiative will help increase safety levels during aircraft movements at Fiumicino airport and improve aircraft turnaround performance, making the airport ready for the expected increase in traffic in the coming years.

The goals achieved to date by the VDGS project include:

The installation of 76 new generation optical guides. By the end of the project, a further 16 optical guides will be installed for a total of 92 (over 80% of the Fiumicino taxiways);
The implementation of the software dedicated to the management of optical guides, to the monitoring of the stand systems (power supply, air conditioning, boarding jetty) and to the interface with the airport database.



The VDGS project implemented by Aeroporti di Roma at Fiumicino Airport brings - although not yet completed - benefits in terms of modernisation, digitalisation, innovation, safety and punctuality, specifically:

greater reliability and punctuality, helping to reduce the ignition time of the engines and allowing reductions in fuel consumption, thanks to the timely sharing of information with pilots and handlers;
anticipating the preparatory activities for pilots to take off, reducing the time spent on taxiways with consequent reductions in emissions thanks to the indications of the route to be followed (SID/ICP) published on the VDGS optical guide panel;
increased safety of ramp operations, greater reliability of shared data and efficiency of turnaround operations thanks to the sharing of information between airport systems;
greater punctuality, resilience and sustainability thanks to the remote monitoring of taxiway systems.



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