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Airservices unveils Western Sydney Airport’s new ‘digital tower’

written by Jake Nelson | March 5, 2024

Airservices Australia’s new Digital Aerodrome Service (DAS) centre at Eastern Creek, Sydney. (Image: Airservices)

Airservices Australia has officially launched its digital aerodrome services (DAS) project at the future Western Sydney International Airport (WSI).

Digital aerodrome services use cameras and sensors to replace traditional physical air traffic control towers, and are faster and cheaper to construct. The digital tower, operated from a new centre at Eastern Creek in western Sydney, will be the first of its kind in Australia when it opens in 2026.

Developed in partnership with technology providers CDC and Frequentis Australasia, the DAS will use more than 20 high-resolution cameras, sending data on the airport and surrounding airspace to the Eastern Creek control hub, with new management tools and features such as object tracking, night vision and image enhancement.

“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,” said Western Sydney International Airport CEO Simon Hickey.

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


While Ballina Byron Gateway Airport in northern NSW will use a digital tower from 2025, WSI will be the first airport in Australia to be purpose built with the technology, said Airservices CEO Jason Harfield, with countries like the UK, Sweden and Germany already using DAS.

“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,” he said.

David Webb, Airservices’ head of transformation – OneSKY and aerospace, told Australian Aviation last year that DAS offers air traffic controllers the ability to quickly spot unexpected people or vehicles on runways and keep track of different aircraft, in addition to their benefits in cost and speed of deployment.

“In a tower environment, you need to be looking out the window to see what’s going on. When you replace that with screens, the camera can spot the aircraft for you and tag it for you. So rather than go ‘where is Alpha Bravo Charlie?’, various systems have already picked it up for you,” he said.

“You have the same controller doing the same job they do, with all these enhancements for themselves that do it a lot more safely.”

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