• A Searidge digital tower during trials at London Heathrow. (NATS / Searidge Technologies)
    A Searidge digital tower during trials at London Heathrow. (NATS / Searidge Technologies)

Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport (WSI) is set to become the first airport in Australia to run a digital tower, Airservices Australia announced yesterday.

WSI will operate as a digitised airport, with more than 20 high-resolution cameras monitoring the airport and immediate airspace, with vision transmitted to a central Digital Aerodrome Service (DAS), to be located at Eastern Creek.

CDC and Frequentis Australasia will work with Airsericces to develop the WSI DAS using internationally proven technology that Airservices says will provide more information and greater situational awareness to ATC.

Airservices Australia CEO Jason Harfield said DAS technology would improve the capability of air traffic controllers as airspace management became increasingly complex

“Airservices is proud to partner with WSI to deliver this first-of-its-kind aerodrome in Australia,” he said.

“DAS is world-class technology that will improve the capability of our controllers, enabling us to deliver even greater levels of safety and increased capacity.” 

WSI CEO Simon Hickey said DAS was tried, tested and proven technology.

“The digital tower at WSI will bring together the skills of Australia’s air traffic controllers, with cutting-edge digital technology to enhance safety and improve efficiency,” he said.

“This exciting technology has earned its place in what will be an airport focused on delivering passengers and airlines an incredible experience.”

DAS enables new air traffic management tools and features such as object tracking, night vision and image enhancement – enabling ATC to see beyond the limitations of the human eye, and more at night and during periods of low visibility.

Digital towers are already in operation in the UK, Sweden and Germany. In 2019, Airservices announced it was beginning trials of digital technology the following year, starting with a prototype based on Sydney International.

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