Airport management says the digital version will give controllers better oversight of the runway. All of the cameras offer close-up views and the two pan-tilt-zoom cameras can magnify up to 30 times. Staff will also have an audio feed from the airfield and radar readings to help them manage takeoffs and landings. The screens will also overlay important information, such as weather, flight numbers and aircraft call signs, to improve operator awareness and speed up decision making. The hardware, supplied by Saab Digital Air Traffic Solution, is already being used at Örnsköldsvik and Sundsvall airports in Sweden.
Construction of the "digital" tower will begin later this year and is scheduled to be completed in 2018. A year of testing and training will follow, before a full switchover in 2019. Until then, the existing air traffic control tower will operate as normal. "With London City Airport's plans to grow and an existing tower which is reaching the end of its operational lifespan, this cutting edge, proven technology future-proofs London City Airport's air traffic control for the next 30 years and beyond," Declan Collier, the airport's chief executive said.