Airways New Zealand has selected Frequentis, to provide a digital air traffic control tower demonstration to show how the safety and efficiency of airport operations could be enhanced. The system will be supported by additional situational awareness tools such as target tracking and infrared capabilities.
Digital towers present air traffic controllers with panoramic views of the airfield showing more detail than is possible with the human eye. The demonstration will allow Airways New Zealand to assess how the technology could improve visualisation during persistent weather issues, extend the hours of air services at regional locations and in turn improve the effectiveness of airport operations as well as safety.
“Digital towers are one of the intelligent transport technologies we are looking at to modernise our air traffic network and ensure New Zealand gets the most benefit out of an increasingly complex and busy airspace. In the future, digital towers could support greater air connectivity, by giving us the option to extend services in areas of New Zealand where the costs of building or servicing a physical tower are currently not cost effective,” says Airways Chief Operating Officer Pauline Lamb.
Air transport in New Zealand is predicted to increase by an average of 4.3% per annum over the next 20 years. Additionally, the arrival of UAVs, rockets and other new entrants to New Zealand skies, see a further increase in the demand for air traffic management services.
As a leading provider of automation and communication systems, Frequentis delivers proven and tested digital tower systems, already in use. The Frequentis digital tower solution is customisable for use across a range of applications, for regional AFIS towers, small or advanced remote towers, airport operations or to enhance tower operations and provide contingency for regular towers. The German ANSP, DFS, who chose the Frequentis Remote Virtual Tower solution in 2015, is the first ANSP to have deployed this type of digital tower solution for a busy regional airport, with the project recently passing an important milestone and currently preparing for regulatory approval.
“Frequentis is actively driving the evolution of remote virtual towers across the world, through involvement in major research programs such as SESAR, and by driving standardisation through EUROCAE working groups, to enable safe operations and the harmonised interoperability of communication solutions. It is a great opportunity for Frequentis to be working with Airways New Zealand, enabling them to discover new ways to achieve their goals for innovation and safety.” Hannu Juurakko, Vice President Frequentis ATM Civil.
The digital tower demonstration is not being used to manage live traffic. In the first instance, Airways New Zealand is exploring digital towers to see how the technology could be used as a contingency option to back-up physical towers. Digital tower technology is gaining momentum internationally. Systems from Frequentis are currently being deployed at Vienna International Airport, Ports of Jersey, and further airports in Germany.