Norway completes testing of remote ATC aircraft landing in Arctic


A remote air traffic control tower in Bodø, Norway, which became operational during October has been successfully used to  guide its first commercial passenger flight to the Arctic airport of Røst .

The Remote Towers project in Norway is a partnership between the airport and air navigation service provider Avinor and  technology companies Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace and Indra.

The first regular commercial air traffic service with passengers in the region comes after several years of planning and testing.

Seen in Norway as a way of enabling sustainable aviation services in rural areas of Norway, many of which are in the Arctic will ensure more cost-effective airport operations and better accessibility to regional airports, said Avinor’s CEO, Dag Falk-Petersen.

The system has now received its first stamp of approval from the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority, showing that the Remote Towers technology can provide equal or better safety standards compared to conventional towers at airports, said Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace.

Jan Østby, project director for remote towers at Avinor Air Navigation Services said, “Safety is always the highest priority within aviation. While we are still technically in a test mode, the first commercial passenger flight completed marks an important milestone for us.

“We had good contact and visuals with the aircraft during the entire approach and landing. The Remote Tower system functioned optimally in this operation. We have had a close dialogue with the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authorities since the beginning of this project, which has been important when introducing new technology into such a safety orientated industry.”

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace uses a combination of video, sensor technology and secure remote control systems between the airport and the air traffic control center.

Elin Blakstad, Director of Tower Systems at Indra said, “Through SESAR projects and in collaboration with Avinor we are developing our InNOVA tower system so air traffic controllers will be able to remotely manage multiple airports.

“With all relevant information on a single integrated screen, and reliable communication via our voice communication systems, controllers get full situational awareness. We are proud to be part of this important project and look forward to the continuation.

Avinor is also building the World’s largest remote tower center in Bodø, Norway. The remote tower center, which is due to open in the second half of 2020 will provide ATC services for 15 airports by 2022.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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