London Airport Traffic To Be Controlled From Hampshire

Personnel demonstrate tracking equipment at National Air Traffic Services Swanwick in Hampshire which will direct aircraft at London City Airport

London City to introduce UK's first digital air traffic control tower

These will send a live audio and visual feed back to a new operations room in Hampshire run by Nats, the UK's air-traffic control organisation, which handles around 2.3 million flights into, and out of, the United Kingdom every year.

The cameras will also allow controllers to improve visibility in low light, while the perimeter of the runway can be highlighted at night time.

The tech has already been tested in Australia, Sweden, Norway and Ireland and has been developed by Saab.

The images of the airfield and data will be sent via independent and secure super-fast fibre networks to a brand new operations room at the NATS control centre in Swanwick, Hampshire.

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 United Kingdom".

Declan Collier, chief executive at London City Airport, said: "A pioneering new digital air traffic control system will enhance safety and improve resilience, setting a new standard for the global aviation industry to follow".

In April, the union opposed a proposal by Highland and Island Airports to replace skilled air traffic controllers with a centrally controlled remote tower system, suggesting the telecommunications infrastructure required to operate a remote tower set up did not yet exist in the Scottish highlands.

Johan Klintberg, CEO of Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, said: "This decision by London City Airport is further proof that Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions is the world's leading provider of remote and digital tower technology".

The airport, which is undergoing a 350 million pound ($455 million) expansion, is located near the Canary Wharf financial center in east London and used by over 4.5 million passengers mainly for business travel between Europe's major centers.

The system is being introduced as part of a £350m development programme to upgrade London City Airport.

The 50 metre digital tower was approved by the London borough of Newham in December of last year and construction will kick off later this year.

Aircraft stand idle at City Airport after a protest closed the runway causing flights to be delayed, in London, Britain September 6, 2016.

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