Jersey Airport in the Channel Islands has started ‘live operational trials of a digital remote tower as part of its strategy to emerge as the first ‘certified’ remote digital tower in the British Isles.
Testing includes the controlling of live air traffic from the remote facility, aimed at offering an emergency plan if the main ATC Tower is evacuated.
Austrian ATC equipment provider Frequentis supplied the digital tower system. Installation and integration support for the equipment was provided by Systems Interface.
Under the trial, photos of the airfield and its nearby areas are captured using 11 HD cameras and provided to the remote tower.
Photos are connected to offer a panoramic view of surroundings, which is then displayed on three large screens.
Digital ‘remote’ towers allow the air traffic control service for the runway and immediate vicinity to be offered from numerous sites to any location.
Additionally, it provides a range of other benefits to the air traffic controller. This includes overlaying aircraft labels with callsign information onto the live picture or using infrared to enhance the visibility of aircraft in bad weather.
Jersey Airport is already employing one of those enhancements. Also available to controllers in the conventional tower will be two pan-tilt zoom cameras, one facing north and the other south, delivering what is described as a ‘smart binocular’ function.
Jersey Airport remote tower facility features numerous flexible and diverse data and power supplies.
However, if the new technology fails, Jersey Airport can use procedures similar to those used in foggy conditions to continue offering air traffic control services.
After the trial, the airport is looking to use the technology as a business development opportunity by offering it to other UK airports.