CANSO publishes second edition of Remote and Digital Towers Guidance Material


The world of Remote and Digital Towers is a dynamically advancing aspect of the aviation sector. The concept has been evolving, knowledge and experience has been improving, and interest globally has been increasing (and continues to do so) over the past three years since the initial CANSO Remote and Digital Tower Guidance Material published in December 2020.

The CANSO Smart Digital Tower Focus Area (SDT FA) under the Digital Transformation Workgroup identified the need to update the existing edition of the document to ensure the content reflects the concept evolution, technology advances, state of implementations, and to include the new knowledge and experience that has been gathered by CANSO members on specific challenges.

The CANSO Remote and Digital Towers Guidance Material aims to provide air navigation service providers (ANSPs) and other interested parties with an introduction to the remote and digital tower concept and informs any decision-making processes before or during the inception of an implementation programme. The document supports the ICAO recommended international effort in developing common standards and guidelines on the topic. It is provided by the members, for the members.

In its effort to provide current and useful information to our Members, the SDT FA members made a number of updates to sections of the 2020 publication and included new information in areas where knowledge and experience has increased.

One of the updated areas, which has become a “hot topic” is the “Centralisation of services and information”. This section has been expanded to include further details and considerations around the process of centralisation of digital tower implementations within a common environment (e.g., establishing a remote/digital tower centre). Similarly, , a new section discussing the “Digital Towers Interdependencies” was developed to capture challenges and considerations regarding the interdependencies between airports consolidated in a common environment, including those related to multiple operating mode based on experiences and lessons learned from past and on-going validation trials.

The “Case Studies” section has also been updated to include new, real-life implementation experiences. The new cases studies discuss implementation drivers, technical solutions, benefits and challenges, implementation process, lessons learned, and future development plans of the users. The new edition even includes a new case study on a large-scale digital tower centre implementation.

The following case studies are presented in the updated edition:

  • FAA Towers Case Study
  • LFV and SAAB Remote Tower Services Case Study
  • HungaroControl Digital Tower Case Study
  • DFS Remote Tower Centre Case Study
  • Avinor Remote Tower Programme

The final key updates made to the document were focused on introducing new information on sub-topics identified as important additions by the members. Those new sub-sections include “Lifecycle Management” where the lifecycle of digital tower implementations is discussed by breaking down the lifecycle stages and providing considerations to support the understanding of users. Furthermore, two new sub-sections sitting under the “What is next for Digital Towers” were introduced. Those include “Advanced Concept Applications” discussing emerging use cases for implementing digital tower technology in conventional tower operations. As well as “Drone Management and Detection” discussing the opportunity for digital towers to support the management and detection of drone operations around airports.

The SDT FA will continue to maintain the CANSO Remote and Digital Towers Guidance Material. Members have already started discussing future updates and potential new topics that should be included to provide a thorough understanding of digital tower implementations. As mentioned at the start, the Digital Towers concept is advancing and evolving dynamically, hence CANSO will continue its effort to match that evolution and capture the new learnings along the way.

And with that, CANSO proudly presents the updated guidance material which can be found here.

About the Author

Elizabet Pavlova Senior ATM and Airports Consultant, Think Research Ltd, takes a look at the latest guidance on remote and digital towers

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