Page 42 - ATC Special Bulletin Series - Remote and Digital Towers 2023-01
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42 Sounds perfect, right? Well, not quite. In our ever-shrinking world, the ability to control the most remote aerodromes has been pushed as the most prominent virtue of Remote Towers – but is it the limit? ONE AIRPORT’S SOLUTION IS ANOTHER AIRPORT’S PROBLEM. There are already many ‘remote’ airports, operating with these remote or virtual towers. To date the solution has been targeted at small airports, or literally remote ones. Airports where air traffic can be comfortably monitored by a single digital tower, or where the possibility for a physical tower is limited. The thinking is that larger airports may be reluctant to embrace the sweeping changes this innovation brings. Even with its benefits, the role of ATM has been so crucial and embedded in the processes of daily operations that upheaval is daunting.. Beyond this slight technophobia in the sector, airports and their architects simply love their towers. And those larger airports more than most. Because many of them have defined themselves by their towers and they don’t want to lose that icon of the skyline. It’s a fundamental part of the architecture that resonates with staff and passengers alike. But what the approach of today’s remote towers takes for granted, is that airports will have access to the very large bandwidth required to stably run these traffic control operations from a remote location. After all, you can’t have communication connections cut out when you’re trying to land a Boeing 737 from 50 miles away. In some parts of the world, this may not be an issue, but in others it simply isn’t feasible. These nations, islands, even continents, face challenges in establishing communication infrastructure and can’t put their existing operations at risk, even with the potential efficiencies. Smaller airports across the world should be able to access the benefits that remote towers can provide. While larger airports have so much to gain from this transformation in their operations. Is there an answer that could bring everyone together? The future of air traffic control could be an approach and design that lays between what we have today, and the incredible potential of new digital technologies. | SPECIAL BULLETIN SERIES | 2023 | | 

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