News Item

Remote ATC for London City

London City Airport is to introduce the UK’s first digital 'Local' air traffic control (ATC) tower.

The airport is to become the first in UK to install a digital ATC tower for Local operations - to be operational in 2019.

Many large airports have their 'Approach' controllers situated remotely - in England and Wales, situated at NATS HQ at Swanwick, Southampton. Approach controllers rely on remote radars to oversee the procedural approaches and departures to and from airports. But airport-based 'Local' control, atop the control tower and visually aware, always controls movements on runways and ground manoeuvring areas.

But London City is to become the first in UK to move their Local control also to Swanwick. The digital solution will use state-of-the-art 360° HD cameras and sensors on a newly-constructed 'control tower' (actually just a mast), giving a live panoramic view of the airfield, along with sensory and operational data, sent via super-fast secure fibre connections to Swanwick.

A total of 14 high-definition cameras and 2 pan-tilt-zoom cameras will provide a full 360° view of the airfield in a level of detail greater than the human eye and with new viewing tools that are claimed will modernise and improve air traffic management. Displays at a new control centre at Swanwick will form a seamless panoramic image, alongside an audio feed from the airfield and radar displays.

The Director, Airports at NATS comments: '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 digital tower has been developed by Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions. Details at the NATS link below . .

  • 20 May 2017
  • RIN

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