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/.
The new Terminal 2 at Santiago International Airport has become fully operational in time for the expected increase of holiday travellers.
Sacramento International Airport in Northern California has announced five major expansion plans to help meet future passenger demands.
H2FLY and Stuttgart Airport have announced a project to construct a Hydrogen Aviation Centre at Stuttgart Airport in Baden-Württemberg.
BEUMER Group will be attending Passenger Terminal Expo in Amsterdam 14-16 March 2023 to discuss its latest developments and installations.
On 31 January, Vilnius Airport (VNO) held an official ceremony to mark the start of construction for its new departure terminal.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has announced plans to repave and renovate its 1L runway this spring.
The Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) has opened the eastern extension of O'Hare International Airport's (ORD) Terminal 5.
Airports and airlines are ramping up their investment in technology to digitalise their operations and speed up the passenger journey.
The High Court has dismissed a legal challenge against the Planning Inspectorate’s permission for Bristol Airport to expand its capacity.
The UK government has announced that airport slot rules will be restored to pre-pandemic levels for the upcoming travel periods.
Ford International Airport has announced the third round of Ford Launchpad for Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship (FLITE).
AlphaStruxure has been selected to design, construct and operate an integrated microgrid at JFK's New Terminal One.
The FAA has announced that construction is underway on a new air traffic control tower at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) in North Carolina.
SITA & Zamna Technologies are innovating travel processes with cutting-edge technology to strengthen airline, airport, and border solutions.
Magnetic MRO is deploying Auve Tech autonomous vehicles to transport employees and small packages at Tallinn Airport (TLL) in Estonia.
Manchester Airports Group has announced a 440 million GBP investment in transforming Manchester Airport (MAN) Terminal 2.
Pollite frangible fencing is a non-conductive light-weight fencing system manufactured from FRP and GRP composites.
Raven SR has signed a MoU with H3 Dynamics to collaborate on waste-to-hydrogen energy systems for airport ground operations.
The first installation of Vanderlande’s PAX MX2 security screening system recently went into operation at Frankfurt Airport.
On 24 January, Nashville International Airport (BNA) welcomed its first passengers through its new Grand Lobby facility.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has electrified the track at the Maintenance & Storage Facility for its APM system.
The Airports Authority of India has announced that check-in for Chennai International Airport will soon be available at metro stations.
The Pollite Internally Lit WDI incorporates the latest in LED technologies and uses a single houses bulb with 2 separate banks of lights.
Ghana Airports has received 2 Oshkosh Striker ARFF vehicles to support operations at Kumasi International and Tamale International Airport.
ESS will provide its Energy Warehouse battery solution at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) to recharge Electric Ground Power Units (EPUs).
API has been selected by Virgin Atlantic to manage their network-wide disrupted passengers’ accommodation and transportation needs.
Smiths Detection has announced the launch of its next generation, fully automated tray return system, the iLane A20.
The Greater Toronto Airport Authority has awarded JCAII a contract to provide its EMB technology at one of the largest CDFs in the world.
Teesside International Airport is the first in the UK to be fully ready for new security rules, having installed two CT scanners at security.
Delta Air Lines is continuing to transform its New York airport hubs, building upon an investment of over 12 billion USD in the US.
The Pollite FOD Tower consists of four main upright frangible fibre glass masts, supported by a series of fibre glass cross braces.
Tampa International Airport (TPA) is transforming its Main Terminal walkways to provide retail space and a new Airside D shuttle station.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) is upgrading its baggage basements to enhance operations and improve working conditions for its employers.
Oshkosh argues the case for always incorporating Independent Suspensions when designing Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting vehicles.
Pollite shines a spotlight on its 180MM Multiple Light Approach Mast, with a cross arm and the facility to mount up to 5 lights and SFL.
Siemens Logistics is installing a new outbound baggage handling system (BHS) at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) in Texas.
Airbus UpNext has commenced testing for on ground and in-flight pilot assistance technologies at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France.
London Luton Airport has invested in further expansion with the construction of a new aircraft apron complete with stands.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) has selected the Weitz Company to upgrade its Terminal 4 Baggage Handling System (BHS).
VINCI Airports has installed pedal-powered phone chargers at Guanacaste Airport in Costa Rica to reduce electricity consumption.
The Greater Toronto Airports Authority and LuminUltra have created a laboratory for wastewater surveillance testing at Toronto Pearson.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is installing CT security scanners at Rhode Island T. F. Green International Airport.
Pollite shines a spotlight on its 180mm Single Light Approach Mast, used to mount lights from 5000mm to 12,000mm.
London Stansted (STN) has commenced a five-month programme managed by Lagan to fully resurface its single runway.
PANYNJ has announced that Newark Liberty International Airport's (EWR) new Terminal A will commence passenger operations on 12 January.
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is installing facial biometric technology to assist US Customs and Border Protection.
ATG is delivering a design for an 'AGL Bypass System' to provide a quicker and more efficient contingency process at Heathrow Airport.
Following a series of delays and cost increases, the Luton Direct Air-Rail Transit (DART) automated people mover (APM) is now on schedule to commence service la...
Pollite's Runway Visual Range mast is manufactured in the UK from fibreglass, finished with a UV-resistant gel coat.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is collaborating with Heijmans to carry out major renovation works on the Zwanenburgbaan Runway.
Granite has been awarded a 174 million USD contact to construct new exit taxiways and reconstruct sections of existing runways at LAX.
Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) has received its first heavy-duty battery-electric vehicle, which will operate at LAX.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) has opened the final stage of the PHX Sky Train extension in time for busy holiday travel.
Clayco has been awarded the design-build contract for the East Terminal Expansion project at Fort Wayne International Airport in Indiana.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) has become the first airport globally to offer a driverless Waymo autonomous vehicle service.
Western Sydney International Airport has announced that the landside construction package is now underway on Sydney's new airport.
Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) has installed new radar technology from Robin Radar Systems to prevent bird strikes on aircraft.
FREQUENTIS is providing Austro Control with a new IT-Based Voice Communication System for Schwechat Tower, Vienna.
The UK government has announced new legislation for 2024 which will allow airport passengers to benefit from the latest security technology.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) has opened its Concourse T-North Extension in time for holiday travel.
Siemens Logistics will modernise the baggage handling system at Terminal 1 of Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) in Malaysia.
Leidos will upgrade the US TSA security checkpoints at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).
SITA and TechTalent Software have announced a strategic partnership to launch a Research and Development center in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Winnipeg International Airport has become the first in North America to implement WHILL and Scootaround's autonomous wheelchair service.
Volker has contracted JCAII to install its Icelink and Icelink SmartPad de-icing solution at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Alstef Group has been awarded the contract to upgrade the baggage handling system at Strasbourg Airport (SXB) in France.
PANYNJ has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to replace the AirTrain Newark with a new 2.5-mile elevated guideway train system.
Air Products Qudra has signed an agreement with Saudi Ground Services to supply its 'Hydrogen for Mobility' solution at Dammam Airport (DMM).
Schiphol Airport has contracted JCAII to deliver Icelink® and Icelink® SmartPad® products, including its latest generation of EMBs.
Pollite shines a spotlight on its environmentally durable, frangible Anemometer Masts, coloured with alternative red/white banding.
SITA's new report examines 12 emerging transport megatrends that will significantly morph the travel landscape by 2033.
In Singapore, Changi Airport Group is collaborating with Sarcos to develop a prototype of an outdoor-based autonomous baggage loading system.
ENAIRE is upgrading 14 contingency voice communication systems across nine different locations in Spain with help from Frequentis.
All ground handling vehicles on the apron at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol will be refuelled solely with renewable HVO100 fuel from January 2023.
Munich Airport is fully renovating its central security checkpoint at Terminal 2 with the addition of CT scanners.
Assaia has launched an APU Emissions Control platform that can reduce carbon emissions by detecting Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) usage at gates.
London Heathrow and Mace have employed a robotic dog, Dave, developed by Boston Dynamics to help refurbish the airport's cargo tunnel.
Airbus and ArianeGroup are building the first liquid hydrogen refuelling facility at Toulouse–Blagnac Airport (TLS) for the ZEROe aircraft.
Endeavour Energy will build a digital transmission substation to provide electricity for Western Sydney International Airport.
The final element of structural steel for Los Angeles International Airport's (LAX) Automated People Mover (APM) has been successfully placed.
VINCI Airports has announced that Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport has become the first airport to deploy a fully electric de-icing vehicle.
The FAA has selected Stantec to provide design services for a new air traffic control tower at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Jewers Doors will be attending The Big 5 International Building & Construction Show from 5–8 December 2022 in Dubai.
An Advanced Aviation Message Handling System (AMHS) from Frequentis has been put into operation in ASECNA member countries.
Alaska Airlines has become the first airline in the US to launch an electronic bag tag programme for its passengers.
Governor Kathy Hochul, PANYNJ, American Airlines and British Airways have opened the expanded Terminal 8 at JFK Airport.
Agilent is deploying its next generation of alarm resolution technology, Insight200M, at London Heathrow Airport.
The FAA has celebrated the completion of 3.3 million-square-foot de-icing pad at Memphis International Airport.
Manchester Airport aims to become the first UK airport to have a direct supply of low carbon hydrogen fuel due to a collaboration with HyNet.
French air navigation service provider DSNA has selected SITA Safety Cube to advance operational safety and promote a strong safety culture.
Costain is partnering with London Heathrow to deliver the airport's new infrastructure improvements and advance its journey to net-zero.
Pollite shines a spotlight on its Mid Hinge Mast, designed for use in areas where access for lowering is limited.
The Canadian Airports Council (CAC) has presented a list of priorities for Canada's airports following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
London City Airport (LCY) is partnering with Leidos to transform its security experience with full CT scanner operation from April 2023.
Ottonomy is testing autonomous delivery vehicles at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) as part of a pilot with xBridge innovation hub.
SITA has strengthened its partnership with Geneva Airport, helping transform the passenger experience and optimise operations.
Pollite shines a spotlight on its Single Light Approach Mast, made from fibreglass and mounted in the Pollite frangible coupling.
TotalEnergies, Groupe ADP and the FFA will install charging stations for electric aircraft at airfields in the Paris Ile-de-France region.
Rhino Engineering Group and Jewers Doors Ltd are pleased to announce the launch of a new partnership for the sale of Jewers' sliding doors.
Use the form opposite to get in touch with Cisco directly to discuss any requirements you might have.