Construction starts on camera mast for remote tower operation at Groningen Airport Eelde

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The first visible step in the development towards the remote tower operation of Air Traffic Control the Netherlands (LVNL)

LVNL and Groningen Airport Eelde gave the go-ahead today for the construction of the camera mast for remote air traffic control. To support this remote tower operation, LVNL is installing a camera mast and shelter (a small outbuilding) at Groningen Airport Eelde. Cameras on the mast will give air traffic controllers a view of the airport area and surrounding airspace. In about two years, air traffic controllers will guide the air traffic at Groningen Airport Eelde from the new remote tower centre in the LVNL building at Schiphol East.

LVNL is deploying this technology to also provide safe, efficient air traffic control for Groningen Airport Eelde in the years to come. The remote tower technology guarantees the continued provision of air traffic control and lower costs in the long term. “Applying remote tower technology is aligned with the LVNL vision and strategy to keep innovating,” says Malou van der Pal, General Manager of the Regional Unit at LVNL. “With this innovative technology, we are taking a first step in digitalising air traffic control and ensuring that we can carry out our operations as efficiently as possible. Safety is the most important factor here, and that will continue to be the case. The start of construction marks an important moment. We are working on the development towards a remote tower operation together with Groningen Airport Eelde, KLM Flight Academy and the other airport users, and actively informing the local community. In this way, we can offer quality service to our customers and partners both now and in the future.”

Meiltje de Groot, Managing Director of Groningen Airport Eelde: “We are delighted with the arrival of the remote tower technology at Groningen Airport Eelde and that it gives us the first remote air traffic control in the Netherlands. This initiative is in line with our ambitions for innovations and sustainability. The fact that Groningen Airport Eelde can once again fulfil a pioneering role is a wonderful milestone for us within the current themes.”

This development is also important for the users of the airport. Bart de Vries, Managing Director of KLM Flight Academy: “Remote tower is a great innovation that we expect will make it possible to achieve air traffic control at Eelde in a more efficient and robust way, and may even increase its availability. Good air traffic control is extremely important to us. As a major user of the airfield, we look forward to working with LVNL in its realisation.”

A shelter with technical equipment will be set up next to the camera mast. The construction work by Heijmans is planned to continue until July 2021. In the coming weeks, LVNL will lay the foundations for the camera mast, and the shelter will be built. The camera mast will be installed in a few months. After an extensive testing and validation period, the Inspectie Leefomgeving & Transport will assess the safety parameters. Air traffic controllers will also receive extensive training. After approval of all aspects, the camera mast and the remote tower centre will be commissioned. 

LVNL received a grant from the European Union for this project, via the Innovation and Networking Executive Agency (INEA).