AVINOR advances multiple remote tower ops

Norwegian air service provider AVINOR with Indra and its Norwegian subsidiary, Indra Navia as technology provider, have successfully completed the first test in a series of validations within SESAR 2020 programme to simultaneously manage traffic in multiple airports from a single remote position.
While single remote tower control has already been deployed and has been considered a revolutionary concept of air traffic management, the most significant impact in terms of meeting business case objectives, operational cost-effectiveness and the lowest possible total cost of ownership is expected to be generated from multiple tower operations and/or remote centre applications.
Indra Navia in March hosted the first validation exercise to assess the air traffic controller’s capability when providing simultaneous air traffic services to three aerodromes from an integrated controller working position.
The testing platform, based on Indra air traffic management systems, provided a fully integrated 3D tower environment recreation of three Norwegian airports, Røst, Haugesund and Bodø with simulated traffic.
All relevant information and controls were available through InNOVA, the integrated controller working position which included radar traffic views, meteorological information, relevant airport monitoring and control, and electronic flight strips for the three airports. The validation platform also composed of other tools such as voice communication system to the controllers.
A new short-term planning and management tool was developed specifically for the validation. This includes a time-line that provides the controller officers with an intuitive graphical indication of the imminent traffic load based on up-to-date estimations of arrival and departure times.
Three experienced controllers were individually exposed to three different scenarios with increasing traffic load and complexity. The exercises where followed by interviews and questionnaires on subjects such as situational awareness, human factors, workload, operational constraints, feasibility and tool support for further analysing.
The validation brings valuable information and results and will form an important base for the work towards the next maturity level of the multiple remote tower concept. Initial results clearly indicate that it is possible for a single air traffic controller to operate traffic at more than one airport simultaneously.
Avinor’s remote tower programme will establish remote towers at 15 airports and control them from a remote centre, and multiple operations is a vital part of its concept.  “We are very happy that this validation shows we are on the right track,” said Jan Østby, director Remote Services, Avinor ANS.