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London City (Literally) Outsources ATC

New air traffic control system features digital tower with high definition visibility of runways.

A new air traffic control (ATC) system at London City Airport (LCY) will sit 80 miles away from the airport when it becomes fully operational in 2019. In a press release, the airport and National Air Traffic Services (NATS) announced the beginning of their ATC modernization project, featuring a fully-digital control tower.

The new tower will feature 14 high definition cameras offering full views of the airport, with controllers having control of each camera. Officials say the setup will allow those in charge of dispatching aircraft better visibility than observing the aircraft with naked eyes alone.

Instead of controlling aircraft in the physical tower, views will be transported via secure wire connection to the NATS headquarters 80 miles away. From the building, controllers will still be able to view the entire airfield across 14 monitors along with live radio audio. Both NATS and the airport say that utilizing the digital tower will improve safety by creating better visibility of aircraft, runways and the skies surrounding LCY.

“Digital towers are going to transform the way air traffic services are provided at airports by providing real safety, operational and efficiency benefits,” Mike Stoller, director of airports at NATS, said in the press release. “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.”

While the digital tower will be the first operating in the United Kingdom, it is not the first test of the technology. The control system is built on the Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions platform, which has been successfully implemented at two locations in Sweden. Construction will begin at the end of the year and will replace the current tower by 2019.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
Sydneyberlin May 24, 2017

This story sounds like taken right from a really stupid and predictable action movie: "All seemed well until..."

KRSW May 23, 2017

This isn't going to end well.... and I say that being in IT / tech.

atsak May 23, 2017

I wonder what will happen when the link to the cameras is severed during backhoe mating season?

djjaguar64 May 23, 2017

It sounded like the operations were to be outsourced to India.