Jersey is first British airport to use remote tower technology

Following a comprehensive testing period in 2018, Jersey Airport has become the first hub in the British Isles to achieve approval for managing air traffic using remote tower technology. As a vital component of the regional transport infrastructure, the airport’s continuous air traffic service are essential, particularly in the event of a technical failure or evacuation.

Ports of Jersey contracted Frequentis to supply the remote tower technology with project management support from Systems Interface Ltd (SIL). Significantly, this is also the first remote digital tower implementation to be overseen and reviewed directly by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which is the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) Competent Authority for Jersey.

Frequentis’ 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. It was designed to safely manage air traffic for the Channel Islands hub should the airport’s air traffic control tower be unavailable for any reason.

“We have worked collaboratively with both Frequentis and Systems Interface to ensure Jersey Airport’s remote tower project was delivered successfully,” said Les Smallwood, ports of Jersey, senior ATC 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 airport handles around 23,000 commercial air transports movement annually, and is the fifth busiest British airport for corporate and general aviation traffic with 45,000 movements overall. During operational trials in November 2018, the airport achieved traffic levels of 32 movements per hour using the remote tower.

“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. Together with SIL we have ensured that Ports of Jersey meets its goal for streamlined air traffic services”, commented Hannu Juurakko, Vice President ATM at Frequentis.

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