Airservices Australia has signed a contract with Saab to trial remote tower technology (RTT) at Alice Springs from late 2012.
The Alice Springs remote tower will be controlled from Adelaide, 1500km to the south, with Airservices Australia acting general manager Air Traffic Control, Mark Rodwell, confident that the evaluation of the new technology will give a good indication of its viability for outback conditions.
“Unlike Europe, we will have to deal with heat, dust and very occasionally, heavy rain at our site in Alice Springs,” Rodwell said.
“Due to the cost of primary and back-up data communications in Australia, we estimate the initial operating costs of a remote tower centre are roughly the same as a traditional tower to start with, but reducing over time,” he added.
Rodwell said Airservices would extensively consult with regulators, the industry, air traffic control workforce and the community before the technology could formally be implemented, pending the trial’s success.