Jersey airport has become the first airport in the British Isles to receive approval for the use of a digital remote air traffic control tower.
The approval follows a comprehensive testing period, and means the remote tower can now be used as a contingency in the event of an evacuation of the main ATC tower.
The technology uses a network of 13 HD cameras to create a 240-degree field-of-view of the airport, which is then stitched together to form a panoramic picture across three screens, displayed at the remote tower located just south of the airfield.
Jersey airport handles over 45,000 movements annually, and is the fifth busiest airport in the British Isles in terms of corporate and general aviation traffic.
In 2017 London City airport announced plans to replace its current 30-year old control tower with a new digital version in 2019, providing a 360-degree view of the airfield “in a level of detail greater than the human eye and with new viewing tools that will modernise and improve air traffic management”.
And earlier this year air navigation service provider NATS began trials of Artificial Intelligence technology at Heathrow airport, in a bid to cut delays caused by low cloud and reduced visibility.
Commenting on the news on behalf of Ports of Jersey, Senior Air Traffic Controller, Les Smallwood, said:
“We have worked collaboratively with both Frequentis and Systems Interface to ensure Jersey Airport’s remote tower project was delivered successfully. In addition, this involved working closely alongside EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency ) to ensure all regulatory and training requirements were delivered, including approved conversion training.
“This was all achieved prior to shadowing and live training, and as a result we’re extremely pleased with the contingency remote digital tower and can achieve the same capacity as the conventional tower.”
Ports of Jersey said it is “developing a business strategy to offer similar solutions to other airports within the UK and Europe”, with active discussions already taking place with interested parties.