by Airport Industry-News
11 Dec 2019
Digital technology can help air traffic controllers do their job from miles away.
Landing at London City, the smallest of the airports serving the United Kingdom’s capital, is quite an experience. Heading straight towards London’s high-rise financial district, the approach skims over the Thames River and ends on a tarmac sandwiched between docks.
And starting in 2020, there will be an extra feature worthy of note: London City won’t have a traditional control tower. Instead, cameras on a central mast will relay images to a virtual control tower that is more than 70 miles away.
The United Kingdom’s main air navigation service, NATS Holdings, teamed up with airport tech firm, Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, to run the control tower.
There, air traffic controllers will soon get a taste of the control tower of the future: one that is smart, augmented, and, above all, not located at an airport.
Modern IT systems mean air traffic controllers can now guide flights just as well from a remote site as they can from an airside tower.
Cameras can provide views you can’t get from a tower, while augmented reality can match air traffic data to dots on a screen, so controllers know at all times which aircraft is which. In a digital control room, a 360-degree view is squeezed so you can see it all at a glance.
There are many reasons airports might want one of these control towers. At London City, for instance, growing airline traffic means there is an urgent need to update the airport. But since it is hemmed in on all sides, there is simply no space for a new tower.
Using a camera mast instead of a tower not only saves space, but also offers a better view. Cameras can pan, tilt, and focus in on objects far away. And the mast can be placed near the center of the airfield, where building a tower would be impossible.
“Our existing tower is 16 meters tall and 31 years old, we need a new air traffic control tower, but we're limited in terms of our footprint. The digital tower takes up less of a footprint, is on a 50-meter mast, and the technology that's behind it provides significant advantages for air traffic control.”
In other airports it’s not the tower that is the problem, but the people that go in it. Air traffic control administrators often have problems finding skilled staff willing to work at remote airports. Running their towers from afar thus makes it easier to find the staff.
A case in point is the Highlands and Islands region of Scotland, says Henk van Klaveren, senior public affairs and PR manager for the U.K. Airport Operators Association. This remote region includes the Orkney and Shetland islands, which are dotted with airfields.
“These are vital airports for the islands, each one has to have an air traffic controller. But at a time when we are seeing a shortage of air traffic controllers, it's hard to get people to move to one of the northernmost points of the country.”
It’s because of all this that digital control towers are starting to be seen as a big deal with many air traffic control bodies around the world.
In Hungary, for instance, HungaroControl has plans to make Budapest Airport the first medium-capacity airport in the world to go fully digital, in 2020. HungaroControl is also working with NATS to set up a digital control tower for Changi Airport in Singapore.
Sweden, meanwhile, has had digital control towers since 2015. America, Italy, and New Zealand are among the other nations also planning digital towers.
But if the idea of landing at an airport with no control tower freaks you out, don’t worry: safety is the first thing that all these plans have taken into account.
Besides giving air traffic controllers a better, more informed view of what is going on, digital control towers have fully redundant networks feeding video from each airfield. Multiple camera views ensure controllers can still see what is going on even if a camera fails.
And if, for some reason, all the screens go blank at once, there’s a tried and tested plan of action.
“You would just go over to audio control, which is as it is today if there is less than five meters of visibility, for instance because of fog, it means fewer aircraft can take off and land, but we are still able to operate safely.”
The contents or opinions in this feature are independent and may not necessarily represent the views of Cisco. They are offered in an effort to encourage continuing conversations on a broad range of innovative technology subjects.
This article was used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com/.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has ordered six Oshkosh Striker Volterra hybrid-electric ARFF vehicles.
CLEAR has announced it is launching its identity verification technology at Buffalo Niagara International Airport's (BUF) Main Terminal.
Bristol Airport (BRS) is investing 60 million GBP in constructing a new public transport interchange hub and multi-storey car park.
Read: inter airport Europe, the top terminal construction projects of 2023, the obstacles of accessing airports via public transit and more.
Jewers Doors will be exhibiting at MRO Europe from 17-19 October 2023 at RAI Amsterdam, the Netherlands – booth #377.
Leveraging significant industry expertise, Cohesive provides a clear roadmap for your entire asset management and digital twin journey.
13 startups have been selected to take part in Rome Fiumicino Airport's Innovation Hub programme to help develop their prototypes.
KINTO Join explores the symptoms of parking anxiety and the best way to tackle this issue with more efficient mobility solutions.
Southampton Airport (SOU) has officially opened its runway extension at an event attended by the UK's Aviation Minister, Baroness Vere.
Airbus’ Acubed has signed a MoU with Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to explore how AI can enhance airport ground operations.
Fraport has begun testing Rohde & Schwarz's first walk-through security scanner in Terminal 1 at Frankfurt Airport (FRA).
TUI Airline has fully implemented the SITA OptiClimb® solution across all five of its airlines, reducing airline emissions.
Lagardère Travel Retail has signed an agreement to acquire award-winning airport restaurateur Tastes on the Fly.
London Luton Airport (LTN) is investing 30 million GBP in further enhancing the security and departure experience for its passengers.
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) has passed the halfway point in construction for its Terminal Modernization Program (TMP).
Innovation, sustainability and business models are at the heart of inter airport Europe 2023, a leading trade fair for the airport community.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has launched an autonomous shuttle service at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
SITA and the Government of Aruba have showcased the successful implementation of verifiable digital travel credential technology.
Lindner's MUTE+ ceiling sound absorbers, a popular solution for terminal acoustic optimisation, are now available as a baffle.
Tampa International Airport (TPA) has partnered with The Indoor Lab to deploy LiDAR technology throughout the airport.
In November 2024, the new Aircraft Classification Rating – Pavement Classification Rating (ACR-PCR) system comes into force.
Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) and daa International have signed a MoU with Red Sea Global to operate at Red Sea International Airport.
St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) has purchased 5 Lightning ZEV4 electric shuttle buses to operate between its two terminals.
SITA's technology is set to power French start-up Alltheway’s new doorstep baggage delivery service, SITA Bag Journey.
London Gatwick Airport (LGW) has awarded two major contracts as part of its North Terminal redevelopment project.
The FAA has granted authorisation for Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) to replace its primary runway, 5L/23R.
Passengers continue embracing technologies including mobile and biometrics to optimise journeys, SITA 2023 Passenger IT Insights report finds.
The UK Civil Aviation Authority is launching an independent review into the NATS technical issue that occurred on Monday 28 August.
A planned new mega-hub 40 kilometres southwest of Warsaw will help drive the economic development of Poland and Central and Eastern Europe.
Houston City Council has approved the first instalment of funding to construct William P. Hobby Airport's West Concourse Expansion Project.
Schiphol Amsterdam Airport (AMS) is testing three new lifting aids to help lighten the workload for its baggage handlers.
Hand hygiene company Vaask® has introduced a new online dashboard for its touchless hand sanitizing dispenser.
Plaza Premium Group (PPG), the company that created the world’s first independent airport lounge, is marking its 25th anniversary in 2023.
CLEAR has announced today that its free virtual queuing service, RESERVE powered by CLEAR, has surpassed 5 million reservations.
Airservices Australia has ordered four Oshkosh Striker Volterra 6x6 ARFF hybrid electric vehicles for Western Sydney International Airport.
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) has announced that its new Terminal A is scheduled to open to passengers in November 2023.
Delta Air Lines and Los Angeles World Airports have unveiled the final major phase of their 2.3 billion USD Delta Sky Way at LAX project.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) has commenced construction on its terminal expansion programme's West Gate Expansion project.
Norwegian airport operator, Avinor has partnered with Vanderlande to explore viable ways to automate last-mile baggage handling processes.
The Finnish Border Guard has partnered with Finnair, the police and Finavia to trial Digital Travel Credentials at Helsinki Airport.
Jewers Doors will be exhibiting at MRO Asia-Pacific from 26-28 September 2023 at Singapore Expo, booth #830.
The US Department of Transportation has fined American Airlines 4.1 million USD for violating tarmac delay mandates on 43 flights.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has commenced work on Runway 17R/35L as part of its airfield improvement programme.
Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is now fully operational following the opening of its final five gates.
TAV believes that in the digital age, airports have become living hubs of technological innovation and connectivity.
MWAA and Dominion Energy have broken ground on the Dulles Solar and Storage project at Dulles International Airport.
Finavia has completed work on upgrading baggage logistics and constructing a new centralised baggage claim hall at Helsinki Airport (HEL).
Cebu Pacific is trialling an electric baggage tractor and charging station at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila.
Ready to purchase a new ARFF truck? Learn about the Oshkosh Striker and what to expect from a visit to the Oshkosh facility.
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has purchased 30 new lifting aids from Power Stow to help lighten the workload for employees in the baggage hall.
TAV Technologies explores the technological advancements that have transformed airports into secure and efficient travel hubs.
Nashville International Airport (BNA) has been selected as the home of Southwest Airlines' newest Crew Base from 2024.
Gus Pina, Director of SITA Lab, discusses what drives SITA's innovation roadmap after twenty-five years in the IT sector.
Preparatory construction works are now underway on building a new terminal at Montréal Saint-Hubert Airport (YHU).
Finavia has completed its airfield renovation project at Kuusamo Airport in Lapland, Finland following a 2.5 million EUR investment.
Vancouver International Airport has suspended construction on its South Airfield due to the discovery of potential Musqueam artefacts.
Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) has broken ground on its AVL Forward project to build a new airport terminal in North Carolina.
SITA explains why the ability to pre-screen and pre-clear passengers is vital to the digital border of the future.
Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) has broken ground on its new aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) facility in Michigan.
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) has broken ground on its electric Central Utility Plant (eCUP).
imageHOLDERS Core Range of kiosks have excellent document scanning capabilities, making them ideal for ID verification in airports.
Airways New Zealand Ltd (Airways) has again selected Frequentis' message handling system for the modernisation of its existing network.
Schiphol Airport is electrifying it ground equipment, deploying 30 new electric Ground Power Units (e-GPUs).
At Helsinki Airport, Finavia has become the first airport company in Europe to trial the use of hydrogen to power heavy airport equipment.
Aena has selected Siemens Logistics to operate and maintain the baggage handling system at Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI) in Spain.
Jewers Doors supplied four sets of hangar doors as part of the decarbonisation project on two pre-WWII hangars at Cranfield University.
Menzies Aviation has replaced diesel ground handling equipment at Entebbe Airport (EBB) in Uganda with electric alternatives.
SITA is upgrading 400 self-service kiosks in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, and other hub airports in Europe.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) has commenced a trial to explore the viability of using lower-carbon concrete in the airport environment.
Plaza Premium Group has opened a new lounge, in partnership with marhaba, at Queen Alia international airport in Amman, Jordan.
London Gatwick's planning application to bring its Northern Runway into routine use has been accepted for detailed examination.
From smart tags to smart packing: TAV Technologies provides tips and tricks to avoid baggage handling stress at the airport.
The Port of Seattle has selected AECOM to lead the S Concourse Evolution at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).
The Robson Handling Technology Series 4 Belt Conveyor is all about compatibility and future-proofing your baggage systems.
Two projects led by ULEMCo and Element 2 have received government funding to support the rollout of hydrogen-powered ground support vehicles.
SITA and Envision Digita have signed a new partnership to help airports reduce operational costs and support their net zero ambitions.
Oakland International Airport has completed its Terminal 2 Security Exit Project, which will increase security and provide welcoming art.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Singtel have launched an airside 5G Aviation Testbed at Changi Airport Terminal 3.
Sydney Airport has opened its new T1 International Arrivals Forecourt as part of its 2039 Masterplan to improve the passenger experience.
Frequentis’ innovative X10 VCS has been selected to enhance airspace communication at YUL Montréal-Trudeau International Airport in Canada.
SITA has signed a co-innovation agreement with Indicio to accelerate the deployment of Digital Travel Credentials (DTC) for travel.
CLEAR is launching its identity verification technology at Tulsa International Airport (TUL)'s Main Terminal.
Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) is trialling JetWind Power's technology to capture and convert wind generated from aircraft into energy.
TAV Technologies dives into the basics of airport operations to understand the crucial elements that keep air-transportation alive.
The UK Home Office has announced that all eGates are now open for children aged 10 and 11 years old following successful trials in spring.
Newark Liberty International Airport has achieved the next milestone in constructing its new Terminal A, opening seven additional gates.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd. (BG) has partnered with SITA to increase network speeds and optimise the airline's operations.
Lagardère Travel Retail has been chosen to become Groupe ADP's co-partner in Extime Travel Essentials Paris, part of the Extime universe.
Los Angeles World Airports has selected project partners for the Cargo Modernization Program at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Frequentis Comsoft will provide additional support for EUROCONTROL’s Air Traffic Management (ATM) Surveillance Tracker and Server (ARTAS).
NATS has been contracted to deliver a new contingency control tower at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to replace the existing facility.
Zagreb Airport has implemented TAV Technologies IT solutions, creating a better passenger experience and increasing operational efficiency.
United Airlines is investing in Electric Power Systems (EPS) to enhance its ground operations and facilitate all-electric flights.
Installing Vaask sanitising fixtures can help you meet green cleaning policy requirements toward earning LEED certification points.
SITA continues to work directly with airports to restore passengers’ confidence and reduce baggage mishandling via increased digitalisation.
British Airways is trialling a new digital wayfinding tool to help passengers navigate through London Heathrow Airport (LHR).
Leeds Bradford Airport has contracted Leidos to provide new scanners, tray return systems and security software at its security checkpoint.
Germany's BMDV has launched a new funding programme to support the rollout of sustainable ground power supply units for aircraft.
The FAA has granted 44.5 million USD in funding to help US airports purchase electric buses and charging stations.
Use the form opposite to get in touch with Cisco directly to discuss any requirements you might have.