22 MAY 2017
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London City is to become the first UK airport to build and operate a digital air traffic control tower, with a multi-million pound investment in the technology. The plan is described as “a flagship moment” in the airport’s 30th anniversary year.
Working with the UK’s air traffic control services provider NATS, London City has approved plans for a new tower topped by 14 high-definition cameras and two pan-tilt zoom cameras.
Officials say the cameras will provide a full 360deg view of the airfield in a level of detail greater than the human eye achieves and with “new viewing tools that will modernise and improve air traffic management”.
The images of the airfield and data will be sent via independent and secure super-fast fibre networks to a new operations room at the NATS control centre in Swanwick, Hampshire.
From there, air traffic controllers will perform their operational role, using the live moving images displayed on the screens alongside the audio feed from LCY and radar readings from the skies above London, to instruct aircraft and oversee movements.
LCY CEO Declan Collier said the development marked the start of a technological revolution in UK airport air traffic management. “This new system will enhance safety, improve resilience and set a new standard for global aviation,” he added.
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