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Air navigation services provider Airways New Zealand has issued a request for proposal (RFP) seeking a digital tower technology supplier for Invercargill Airport.

The company’s latest move comes as it plans to replace its air traffic control (ATC) tower with a remote tower at the airport.

Airways noted that the digital ATC tower uses high-definition video cameras and other systems, which allow air traffic controllers to provide services from a remote location.

Surveillance sensors, flight data and augmented reality overlays help to further improve vision and provide controllers with an enhanced panoramic view of the airfield.

“Invercargill is an ideal location for New Zealand’s first digital tower.”

The installation of a remote digital tower will offer improved aviation safety, resiliency and the option to provide new levels of services to New Zealand’s regions.

Scheduled to become operational in 2020 after operational tests, Invercargill’s digital tower will initially function from a building on the airfield before moving off-site to a centralised hub in the future, which will offer services for several regional locations.

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By GlobalData

Airways New Zealand CEO Graeme Sumner said that getting the digital system operational in Invercargill will allow the company to work through the regulatory requirements for a wider launch.

Sumner says: “Invercargill is an ideal location for New Zealand’s first digital tower. Traffic levels are low enough compared to an international airport to make implementing a totally new system manageable, but busy enough to give a meaningful demonstration of how this technology will work on a larger scale.”

The RFP also indicates Airways’ proposal to implement a digital tower at Auckland International Airport as a back-up to its existing tower by 2020, in addition to a full replacement in the future.

Digital towers are being trialled at airports, including Changi and London City, and have also permanently replaced traditional towers at a number of airports across Europe.