London City first UK airport to get remote digital air traffic control – BBC News

Image copyright PA
Image caption The new organization forms part of a 350 m occurrence programme to upgrade London City Airport

London City is to become the first UK airport to replace its air traffic controllers with a remotely operated digital system.

Instead of sitting in a tower overlooking the runway, controllers will be 80 miles back, watching live footage from high-definition cameras.

The new organization, due to be completed in 2018, will be tested for a year before becoming fully operational in 2019.

It has already been tested under Australia, Sweden, Norway and Ireland.

The technology has been developed by Saab, the Swedish apology and safety fellowship, and will be introduced as part of a 350 m occurrence programme to upgrade London City Airport which will also include an extended terminal building, enabling it to serve two million more passengers per year by 2025.

It will provide controllers with a 360 -degree view of the airfield via 14 high-definition cameras and two cameras that are allowed to wash, incline and zoom.

The cameras will send a live feed via fiber cables to a new actions chamber built at the Hampshire base of Nats, Britain’s air traffic control provider.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The remote digital organization is expected to be fully operational in late 2019

The airport is planning to decommission its conventional pillar in 2019, superseding it with a new 164 ft( 50 m) digital pillar – 104 ft( 32 m) taller than the existing one.

London City Airport chief executive Declan Collier said he is “absolutely confident” that the system is safe from the risk of being a cyber attack.

“No chief executive is smug about threats from cyber security, ” he said.

“But we are very confident that the systems we’re putting in place here are secure, they’re safe, they’re oversaw very well.”

The system fixed its world-wide introduction in Sweden at Ornskoldsvik Airport, where flights have been controlled by a remote pillar in Sundsvall, 110 miles( 177 km) away, since 2015.

Nats airports lead Mike Stoller announced: “Digital towers are going to transform the course air traffic services are provided at airports by providing real refuge, functional and effectiveness benefits.

“We do see this as being a changing market place in the various regions of the UK and the world.”

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