Airports

You might have spotted the Heathrow air traffic control tower on TV recently in the BBC’s new show – ‘The Airport: Back in the Skies’. Presented by the original 90’s ‘Airport’ series star Jeremy Spake, the five-part documentary series looks at how the aviation industry at Britain’s busiest airport managed through the most challenging time in its history.

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It’s now more than a year since London City Airport successfully transitioned to a digital tower and began controlling flights from a brand-new remote-control centre, based in Swanwick.

Now, instead of sitting in a physical tower based at London City Airport, a dedicated team of controllers manage the runway through sixteen high-definition cameras and sensors mounted on a mast, capturing a 360-degree view of the City Airport airfield.

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Increasingly, its technology that is allowing airports to unlock the next level of capability and performance, something that will be increasingly important for the Greater Bay Area as the Chinese government aims to grow the region into a world-leading transportation hub.

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I’m finding in conversations with airport operations directors around the world, is that they’re looking at ways to enable future growth, but in a way that reflects our current reality.

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Annual investments in the drone industry reached a record high in 2020, over 90% of which were in the manufacture of electric flying taxis. Within the next five years, passenger-carrying piloted flying taxis are expected to start low-density operations across cities in the UK, at a rate that’s projected to exceed existing helicopter traffic.

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COP26: Planning for history

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) came to a close earlier this month and as the UK prepared to host the event in Glasgow, months of logistical planning from our side was coming together as our air traffic controllers geared up for what was a busy few weeks, especially in Scottish airspace and at Scottish airports.

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Friday 12 November is International ATSEP day – which is all about recognising and celebrating our colleagues who help to keep our equipment operational and safe. We took time out to speak to colleagues from around our Technical Services team to find out more about ATSEP, what it means to them and how it affects our business.

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Earlier this morning, we celebrated the reopening of the US to UK travellers with a spectacular synchronised, parallel take-off from Heathrow, something that’s extremely rare. But why exactly is it so uncommon, and what does it take operationally to pull it off?

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In this data visualisation, we share an example of a recent infringement at Southampton Airport, to explain how such an incident can have an impact on other airspace activity and users and to help raise awareness in the hope of minimising these occurrences in the coming months.

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With airports so impacted by the Covid crisis, tools like Intelligent Approach that help airports utilise runways and airspace more efficiently, for a fraction of the investment needed for new ground-based infrastructure, will be more valuable than ever to operators as traffic returns.

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