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NEWS Last modified on February 28, 2019

Invercargill set to get New Zealand’s first digital ATC tower

New Zealand’s first remotely operated digital air traffic control tower is a step closer to reality following the award of a contract to global technology provider Frequentis to develop a digital system for Invercargill Airport.

It has been awarded the contract by air navigation services provider, Airways, which is pursuing digital tower technology as a national alternative to conventional towers to enhance aviation safety, improve weather resiliency and provide extended levels of service to New Zealand’s regions.

“A digital tower at Invercargill Airport is the first step in our journey to modernise the way we provide air traffic services at airports,” says Airways general manager of air traffic services, Tim Boyle.

“We’re excited about the safety and efficiency advantages the technology offers to the airport, airlines, and ultimately travellers."

Airways and Frequentis will work in partnership to deploy the digital system in Invercargill. It is due to go live in 2020 and will be operated at first by controllers based at the airfield, before later moving to a centralised hub providing services to a number of regional locations.

Invercargill Airport's general manager, Nigel Finnerty, enthuses: “As Southland’s gateway to the world, Invercargill Airport is a growing regional airport and we’re pleased to be leading the introduction of digital air traffic control into New Zealand.

“Digital towers will help to future-proof our airport operations, ensuring we’re able to safely and efficiently meet the ongoing needs of all those who fly here.”

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