Remote air control towers are being experimented with at two United States airports. The first one is located in Leesburg, Virginia, while the second one is located in Loveland, Colorado. London’s Heathrow Airport is also considering the possibility of using a remote air control tower. These remote towers offer several advantages over more traditional towers.
Remote Control Towers in Sweden
In early 2015, Sweden became the first location to use remote towers. The tower at Örnsköldsvik Airport also serves as the control tower for Sundsvall Airport even though there is approximately 93 miles between the two locations.
Augment Existing Towers
These towers are not intended to replace towers that are currently staffed. Instead, they offer additional coverage when no one is available. Furthermore, it allows contractors to offer air controllers assignments in better locations.
Advantages of Building Remote Air Control Towers
Building remote towers is also more cost effective. While it may cost about $5 million to construct a traditional tower, the cost of building remote towers is about $2 million. That savings can allow for more towers to be utilized at airports that are too small to currently have a tower. Maintaining one tower is much more cost effective than using multiple towers. Since there would be fewer air controllers, they could receive better training.
Safer for Traveling Public
Remote towers also increase safety for the traveling public. Movement on the field could be more easily detected. The latest technology could be employed at airports where paying for it is a major obstacle. Pilots could more easily communicate with controllers instead of having to talk to numerous towers. Less chaos should result from using fewer towers.
There are many advantages to using remote air control towers. Full details of these advantages have been outlined in a report titled Remote Air Traffic Control Towers: A Better Future for America’s Small Airports.