Remote air traffic control systems set for Irish airports

Ireland has moved a step closer to having its airspace managed via digitially controlled, remotely located control towers, rather than by individually manned air traffic control towers at each airport.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has branded as a success recent remote management trials at Cork, Shannon, and Dublin airports and said that while the concept and relevant technology is still at the early stage, they are likely to play a future role in Ireland’s aviation sector.

“Following these trials, we firmly believe that tower services at multiple airports can be safely provided by a single air traffic controller remotely,” said Peter Kearney, IAA director of air traffic management operations

“With carefully designed procedures, it will almost certainly be possible to allow one controller to simultaneously provide ATM services for more than one low volume aerodrome. This would be subject, of course, to successful completion of safety assessments, regulatory approval and appropriate stakeholder consultation.”

Calling the trials “a significant milestone”, Mr Kearney said “remote tower technology will play a vital role in the future of air traffic service provision for aerodromes across the world, including Ireland.”

Speaking in Dublin recently, London City Airport chief executive Declan Collier noted that a remote digitally controlled air traffic control tower forms part of its £400m (€464m) redevelopment plans.

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