Technical Advances in Air Traffic Services
From Jersey Airport,
22 March 2017
Jersey Airport is set to become the first provider of Remote Tower Service technology in the British Isles following a major development programme with leading aviation specialists, Systems Interface Ltd and Searidge Technologies (Canada). Certisa Ltd will be providing the Safety Assurance elements of this project.
Remote Tower Service Technology is the ability to perform usual air traffic services from an alternative location away from the usual airport control tower and Jersey is expected to be the first operationally certified Remote Tower in the British Isles.
The decision by Ports of Jersey to implement this technology was driven by its wish to increase its capability of continuing to provide air traffic services in the event of a catastrophic technical failure of equipment or the need to evacuate the main Air Traffic Control facility at Jersey Airport. This means that the Visual Control Room and Approach Facility can still be operated from a remote location, allowing aircraft to continue to operate in and out of Jersey Airport and Channel Islands Airspace.
The Searidge system itself consists of a display feature showing a 220 degree view of the airfield, emulating the view that air traffic officers see from their control tower. The system also boasts two zoom cameras, which allows for a detailed close up views of aircraft both on the ground and in the surrounding airspace. The system is completed with a touch screen Human machine Interface (HMI), which enables intuitive operation of the Remote Tower system functionality and has the capability to quickly observe "hot spot" areas of interest on the airfield, thereby enhancing safety and situational awareness.
Senior Air Traffic Control Officer at Jersey Airport, Les Smallwood, is confident that such technology will be of great benefit to the Island and explains, "This solution will provide guaranteed resilience in the event of equipment failure or the need to evacuate the main ATC facility at the airport. Additionally, we hope that being at the forefront of this technology will enable Ports of Jersey to expand its business portfolio in this area".
The initiative, which is costing Ports of Jersey £1.3m was launched at the World ATM Congress in early March 2017, held in the Spanish City of Madrid. This 3-day show attracts in excess of 600 aviation specialists from around the world, including air traffic management experts, leading product developers and service providers. At Stand #826, representatives from Ports of Jersey and its partner Searidge Technologies provided a demonstration of the Remote Tower Contingency project.
Mr Smallwood continues, "By attending this prestigious show it will launch the Jersey Airport project on to the world stage, indicating that we are committed to developing this technology and cementing our position as a credible ATC organisation".
Group CEO for Ports of Jersey, Doug Bannister concludes "The air traffic management sector is changing rapidly, with a convergence of technology, process and expertise. Ports of Jersey, working with strong technology partners and advanced regulators, are firmly at the leading edge of these developments. This is an exciting period indeed."