Goodbye Air Traffic Control Towers
London City Airport will no longer depend on air traffic control towers starting January 2020.
17:47 29 November 2017
From January 2020, flights in and out of London City will no longer be guided in land by an air traffic controller in an on-site tower, but by controllers using the latest video streaming technology 128 kilometres away from the airport.
The new system will use between 300 and 500 megabits per second of live streaming video footage captured by a nest of 14 HD cameras and two pan-tilt-zoom cameras that provide a full 360-degree view of the airport. The footage will be transported back to the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), located 128 kilometres away in Swanwick, Hampshire.
Steve Anderson, head of airport transformation at NATS, said: “We couldn’t have done this 10 or 20 years ago. The camera technology just wasn’t there, and the cameras themselves weren’t reliable enough.”
London City is the third airport to use the new technology, following two remote, rarely-used airports in Sweden. Anderson is optimistic that London will not be the last. “As we start to get three, four and five towers in the same building, you get some benefits,” Anderson explains. “Controllers can control more than one airport in a given day.”