Published on Friday, May 19, 2017

London City will be first to install remote air traffic control

London City Airport is to become the first airport in the UK to install a remotely operated air traffic control system.

The technology means that instead of controllers sitting in a tower overlooking the runway, a new tower will be built and fitted with 14 high definition cameras and two pan-tilt-zoom cameras, which will send images and data to a brand new operations room at the NATS control centre in Swanwick, Hampshire.

The airport said the the cameras will provide a view of the airfield in greater detail than the human eye and with new viewing tools that will modernise and improve air traffic management.

The new system will be tested for a year before becoming fully operational in 2019.

The airport said it marks the start of a technological revolution in UK airport air traffic management.

Declan Collier, London City Airport chief executive, told the BBC he was 'absolutely confident' the system would be safe from the threat of a cyber attack.

"No chief executive is complacent about threats from cyber security, but we are very confident that the systems we're putting in place here are secure, they're safe, they're managed very well," he said.

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 comes from Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions and is already in use at two Swedish airports.

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