London City Airport replaced the conventional control tower with a remote digital structure provided by Saab.
The Saab Digital Tower was deployed at the British capital’s central airport in a 50 meter high structure completed in 2019. But the flight controllers are located in Swanwick, about 85 miles south of London.
The system consists of 16 high definition cameras and sensors installed on a mast and that capture 360 degrees from the airport. This information is transmitted at high speed through optical fiber to the NATS (National Air Traffic Services) facility.
In addition to images, the controllers also have microphones positioned in various parts of the airport and radar readings to guide pilots of the aircraft operating in London City.
“We are immensely proud to become the first major international airport to operate this pioneering technology from Saab. This investment in smart infrastructure will help us meet future growth in passenger demand, improve air traffic management and give us future capability as the aviation industry bounces back from the pandemic, ”said Alison FitzGerald, chief operating officer at London City Airport.
“We look forward to seeing the technology take off at London City Airport, giving controllers new tools and safety features which demonstrate the benefits Digital Towers can bring,” said Magnus Lewis-Olsson, Chairman and President of Saab UK.
The remote control solution will allow London City to expand its coverage and increase its air traffic capacity, says the company.
The technology is already used in smaller airports in Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands, in addition to the UK itself, but until then it had not been implemented in a larger airport with international operations.