Jersey Airport in the Channel Islands has become the first British airport to achieve approval for operational use of a digital Remote Tower.
Ports of Jersey’s digital remote centre deploys technology from Frequentis AG and was achieved with project management support from Systems Interface Ltd.
The airport has achieved traffic levels of 32 movements per hour using the Remote Tower during operational trials in November 2018.
Approval for the Channel Islands based airport followed a comprehensive testing period throughout 2018, which included training for all air traffic controllers.
This is the first-time remote tower approval has directly involved the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) Competent Authority for Jersey.
The solution was designed to safely manage air traffic for Jersey Airport from a contingency operations centre, providing seamless Air Traffic Control (ATC) services should the air traffic control tower be unavailable for any reason.
As well as undergoing specific training in the simulator, all air traffic controllers completed ‘active’ and ‘shadow mode’ operations, including ATC operations from the contingency room, with controllers in the conventional tower as a back-up.
Significantly, this is also the first remote digital tower implementation to be overseen and reviewed directly by EASA as this process is usually only carried out by National Authorities.
“We have worked collaboratively with both Frequentis and Systems Interface to ensure Jersey Airport’s remote tower project was delivered successfully," noted Les Smallwood, Ports of Jersey's senior air traffic control officer.
"In addition, this involved working closely alongside EASA to ensure all regulatory and training requirements were delivered, including approved conversion training, featuring Human Factors Analysis, Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and 3D simulator 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 have achieved a movement rate of 32 aircraft per hour during operational trials."
The solution uses a network of 13 cameras to create a 240-degree field-of-view of Jersey Airport, which is then displayed at the remote tower working position in the nearby contingency facility.
"To have worked on this significant project in the British Isles is a great milestone, setting the pace for future UK projects. Remote tower technology is helping ANSPs and airport operators to enhance operations," said Hannu Juurakko, vice Ppesident for ATM at Frequentis.
"Together with SIL we have ensured that Ports of Jersey meets its goal for streamlined air traffic services."