This airport has replaced its air traffic controllers with this digital tower

Not only travelers are entitled to numerous technological innovations at airports. In London City, England, the traditional control tower has given way to a new state-of-the-art tower that leaves no room for air traffic controllers.

The airport closest to central London has messed up the classic pattern by pushing back in a Hampshire village, the team of air traffic controllers about 140 kilometers away. A world first for an airport that is internationally qualified.

A 50 meter high tower with 16 cameras

To fend off the air traffic controllers in a control room a hundred kilometers away, it is better to have enough to watch the asphalt and the runway with a really keen eye. The London City project had a 50 meter tower with 16 high definition cameras developed by Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions.

© London City

In order to avoid inconceivable latency for such an activity, the cameras are connected to the control center via fiber optics. On site, the dispatchers have a large screen (consisting of 14 screens) to visualize the entire airport and its activities. The little extra: the integration of additional information on moving aircraft (speed, altitude, call sign) and weather data.

In Sweden, an equivalent system was tested at Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall airports. Indeed, London City is the first international airport to delegate its entire organization to these air traffic controllers 140 kilometers away and this state-of-the-art digital mast.

The UK airport has only one runway and the work of air traffic controllers will not be the same as that at Heathrow Airport. On the other hand, according to London City Airport Operations Manager Alison FitzGerald, this type of smart camera could help support the surge in air traffic.

“This investment in smart infrastructure will help us meet future growth in passenger demand, improve air traffic management and improve our capabilities as aviation recovers from the pandemic,” she said. British Airways, the airport’s largest customer, will serve the airports in Ibiza and San Sebastian for Spain and Mykonos and Santorini for Greece.

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