Invercargill Airport will be the first airport in New Zealand to have its air traffic control tower replaced with a digital system operated from a remote location.
Air Navigation Services Provider Airways issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking a supplier of digital tower technology for Invercargill.
Airways is looking to the technology as a national alternative to bricks and mortar towers that would provide greater aviation safety, resiliency and the option to provide extended levels of services to New Zealand’s regions. The RFP also signals Airways’ intention to implement a digital tower at Auckland International Airport as a back-up to its existing tower by 2020, and a full replacement in the future.
Digital tower technology allows air traffic controllers to direct traffic from a remote location watching live footage of the airfield from high-definition video cameras. The vision is enhanced by surveillance sensors, flight data and augmented reality overlays, providing controllers with a panoramic view of the airfield in more detail than is possible with the human eye.
Expected to go-live in 2020 following operational tests, Invercargill’s digital tower will operate first from a building on the airfield before moving off-site in the future to a centralised hub providing services for a number of regional locations.
Airways conducted a demonstration of digital tower technology at Auckland Airport earlier in the year.