Story by Ricky French and Robyn Ironside

A Canadian company has won the tender to supply Sydney Airport with a digital control tower prototype so controllers can get a feel for the technology before it is rolled out more permanently.

Searidge Technologies
used the Dubai Airshow to announce the deal with Airservices Australia, which eventually plans to use a digital tower as a backup at busy Sydney Airport.

Digital technology is also being considered for Ballina Airport, which currently does not have an air traffic control tower and Canberra Airport.

Searidge head of traffic management Neil Bowles said digital aerodrome services (DAS) were becoming increasingly common worldwide as airports sought to deal with increased air traffic and take advantage of advances in AI technology.

“Sydney does not have a contingency tower that has as much capacity as the main tower,” Mr Bowles said.

“We know that through their DAS program (Airservices) want to make air traffic operations more efficient at a lot of other airports. This is the first step of that partnership.”

In Sydney, a 4K video display with panoramic ultra-high definition views of the main runways will create a facility for controllers to experience the benefits and features of a digital tower, including its use for contingency operations.

Similar technology is used at Heathrow, Singapore and Hong Kong Airports.