Our client – LCA – became the first major international airport in the world to be fully
controlled by a remote digital air traffic control tower, following intensive testing and live
trials of the revolutionary technology during the lockdown. The technology marks a step-change
in global air traffic management and will help the airport meet an expected surge in demand
for flying as a result of COVID restrictions being eased.

The multi-million-pound investment in the proven remote digital technology marks a major
a milestone in not only the City Airport’s investment in its future but a potential blueprint for
major international airports in the future.

Alison FitzGerald, chief operating officer at London City Airport said: “We are immensely
proud to become the first major international ai[ort to adopt this pioneering technology.
This investment in smart infrastructure will help us meet future growth in passenger
demand, improve air traffic management and give us future capability as the aviation
industry bounces back from the pandemic. Since going into operation at the end of January,
the technology has worked really well and is ready for the expected scale-up in demand for

So how does this work? Sixteen high-definition cameras and sensors mounted on the mast,
capture a 360-degree view of the City Airport airfield. This is then relayed through super-fast
fibre connection to a new control room in NATS’ air traffic control centre in Swanwick. A
dedicated team of controllers then use the live footage, an audi feed from the airfield and radar information to instruct aircraft movements in and out of the airport.

The live, transmitted through independent secure fibre networks, is displayed on 14 HD
screens in the Swanwick control room to provide a panoramic moving image. This can be
overlaid with digital data to provide an enhanced reality view. Information such as call signs,
altitude and speed of all aircraft approaching and leaving the airport, weather readings and
the ability to track moving objects can all be included in this single visual display. Pan-tilt-
zoom cameras can magnify images up to 30 times for close inspection.
This innovative display of operations by LCA will hopefully be the first of many to improve
their efficiency and operations.

Source: London City is the first major airport controlled by remote digital tower – NATS

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