City Airport to build digital air traffic control tower

Grant Prior 5 years ago
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London City Airport has launched plans to build a 50-metre high digital air traffic control tower.

The building will contain 14 HD cameras which will beam pictures back to a new operations room at the Hampshire base of national air traffic control centre NATS.

It means planes will be guided in and out by a team sitting miles away from the airport rather than a traditional perch over the runway.

Cameras on the new tower at the Docklands site will provide a full 360 degree view of the airfield in a level of detail greater than the human eye.

Images will be sent to the NATS centre via independent and secure super-fast fibre networks.

Declan Collier, CEO at London City Airport, said: “A pioneering new digital air traffic control system will enhance safety and improve resilience, setting a new standard for the global aviation industry to follow.

“With London City Airport’s plans to grow and an existing tower which is reaching the end of its operational lifespan, this cutting edge proven technology future-proofs London City Airport’s air traffic control for the next 30 years and beyond.”

Mike Stoller, Director, Airports at NATS, said: “Digital towers are going to transform the way air traffic services are provided at airports by providing real safety, operational and efficiency benefits, and we are delighted that London City Airport has chosen to work with us to deliver what will be the first of its kind in the UK.”

The technology from Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions is already in use at Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall airports in Sweden.

Construction of the 50-metre digital tower will begin later this year on a site located in the airport’s long-stay car park.

It is due to be completed in 2018, followed by more than a year of rigorous testing and training, during which the existing 30-year old tower will continue to operate.

The digital tower will become fully operational in 2019.

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