Sweden's LFV Inaugurates First 'Remote Tower' Operations

 - April 21, 2015, 9:17 PM
Shown is a camera tower used as part of a remote tower system by Sweden's air navigation service provider. (Photo: LFV)

Sweden’s LFV laid claim to being the world’s first air navigation service provider to manage an airport remotely when it started remote tower services at Örnsköldsvik Airport on April 21. Takeoffs and landings at the regional airport were controlled from a remote tower center in Sundsvall, Sweden, about 78 miles away.

The first regular landing took place at 2:05 p.m. local time, according to the airport. LFV board chairman Jan Olson was among passengers on the inaugural flight aboard a Saab 2000 twin-engine turboprop.

A remote tower system combines the ATC functions of one or more small airports at a remote tower center. Cameras and sensors installed at the airports feed imagery and data to the center, where the information is streamed live to controllers on LCD displays. Saab provides the system for LFV; its remote tower suite includes high-definition and pan-tilt-zoom cameras, surveillance and meteorological sensors, microphones, signal light guns and other devices installed at the airport.

The start of regular operations at Örnsköldsvik Airport is the result of 10 years of development with state-owned LFV, according to Saab. The Swedish Transport Agency granted LFV operational approval for the system on October 31.

“We see a great interest from both small and large airports that have a need for remote tower services in order to address the challenges that they face,” said Håkan Buskhe, Saab president and CEO. “This system contributes toward greater efficiency and today marks the start of an exciting development to which Saab has a lot to offer.”

LFV plans to implement remote tower services at Sundsvall-Timrå Airport next, followed by Linköping Airport. “Remote tower services is a development program that we are very proud of,” said Olle Sundin, LFV director general. “We are the first operator in the world to receive operational approval and there is a lot of interest among our customers in Sweden and around the world. RTS is an important product for us and our partners. It gives us a good position and strong competitiveness.”