New Zealand’s first digital air traffic control tower is a step closer.
We expect to confirm a supplier of a digital air traffic control tower system for Invercargill Airport early in the new year. In May we issued a request for proposal seeking a technology supplier.
Invercargill digital tower is expected to go live in in 2020, following operational tests, and will function from a building on site while we work through the regulatory and operational requirements needed to move off-site to a centralised location. We will be working closely with customers and our staff to identify what this future service model could look like.
In recent years we have been exploring how we can deliver aerodrome services that are safer, more efficient, flexible and better shaped to our customer’s needs. Digital towers are one of the technologies that will support this goal.
Invercargill Airport is an ideal location for a digital tower – its traffic levels will allow us to assess how well the technology would work in a varied aerodrome environment and, while we’ve recently carried out an interim refurbishment of the existing tower, it will shortly be in need of more extensive refurbishment or replacement.
Invercargill Airport is an early adopter of digital tower technology, however it’s not a world first. Digital towers have been deployed at airports in the UK, Sweden, Germany with a number of other advanced trials underway. We are watching these developments closely as they are providing valuable insights that will help to shape our implementation.