LFV first in the world to have an operating licence for remote towers

LFV, Air Navigation Service Provider in Sweden, has received an operating licence for remote tower services from the Swedish Transport Agency. This will make Örnsköldsvik Airport the first airport in the world to have remote air traffic control services.

“Remotely controlled towers are a world-first that is the result of close cooperation between LFV, the airports in Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall and Saab and the engagement of a whole region. The issuing of the operating licence means that we have passed a quite crucial milestone on the path to commissioning. The objective is to go live during the first quarter of 2015. I want to thank everyone who has helped to make remotely controlled towers a reality through their knowledge, ideas and commitment,” says LFV’s Director General Olle Sundin.

Something that began as an idea and a vision of a paradigm shift in air traffic control almost ten years ago has now been realised through close cooperation between LFV and Saab. LFV worked out and developed the operational concepts and Saab developed the technical solutions.

“With remotely controlled towers we are creating completely new opportunities for the whole of the aviation industry. We are retaining the high safety level and airports using the system will be able to reduce their operating costs and avoid expensive investments that would otherwise be necessary,” says Mr Sundin.

Since 2012 remotely controlled towers have been in place in Sundsvall, which has a control centre for remote air traffic control services. Örnsköldsvik Airport has been a very successful pilot airport, where flight safety, high quality and development have been important watchwords.

“The use of remotely controlled towers increases accessibility for air travel at the same time as we are raising the efficiency and safety of the air traffic control service,” says Mr Sundin.

The national approval given by the Swedish Transport Agency can also be accepted internationally so as to avoid time-consuming validation processes in each country where remotely controlled tower services are put in place.

“The Swedish Transport Agency has followed the whole process and the development work with great engagement. This has been quite crucial for the safety case,” says Mr Sundin.

Remote tower services – how they work

Remotely controlled cameras and sensors are positioned at the airport and everything they register is linked in real time to the air traffic control centre and projected on a 360o view. Air traffic control takes place via the air traffic control centre where air traffic controllers control and manage the traffic.
This is a completely new and path-breaking service for the industry. Remotely controlled towers give LFV the possibility of delivering services safely while reducing costs to customers.  LFV has gained a great deal of experience from this cooperation with the industry, but also from its close interaction with the Swedish Transport Agency. As a result the development of the service has moved from idea to reality in record time.

The technology is now ready for use for live operations at Sundsvall, where the air traffic control centre is located, and at Örnsköldsvik Airport. This will make Örnsköldsvik the first airport in the world to have remote air traffic control.

In tandem, LFV continues to work with various partners in the European SESAR programme to further enhance and refine the concept.

Images of remotely controlled towers can be downloaded from lfv.se/en/Press. There is also a link to a film about remote air towers.

For more information contact LFV's press service on tel. +46 11 19 20 50.

LFV is a state enterprise that is responsible for air traffic services in Swedish airspace. Every year LFV handles around 700 000 aircraft movements. We provide air traffic control services for both civilian and military traffic. Since 2012 the NUAC, a company jointly owned by LFV and its Danish partner Naviair, handles the production of air traffic services en route on behalf of its owners. LFV also has international operations. Since 2013 LFV has been responsible for local air traffic services in United Arab Emirates and we sell our expertise in air traffic control all over the world.  

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With remotely controlled towers we are creating completely new opportunities for the whole of the aviation industry.
Olle Sundin, Director General LFV.