An airport soon to be entirely remotely controlled, a first in France

The digital transition of control towers is underway. In Tours, the planes will soon land using operators located more than 500 km away, in Toulouse. Air traffic management will be operated remotely for all operations (landing, take-off, taxiing, etc.), reports several local media including The Dispatch.

Digital control tower

To monitor the airport remotely, a digital control tower will be installed. A new pylon of about twenty meters will be built and will carry 18 360 ° cameras this year, indicates the general direction of civil aviation to France Blue Touraine. This installation should allow Toulouse operators to observe the sky above Tours as if they were there. This remote control takeover called “remote towers center” is installed in several countries, including Belgium and the United Kingdom.

To control everything, the Austrian company Frequentis was chosen to supply the display system to the air traffic controllers. To ensure maximum availability, all equipment will be doubled. Two optical fibers will be installed with two Internet operators, in order to avoid any interruption of service. A vital redundancy for an airport entirely piloted remotely. The facility should be operational in mid-2023, before commissioning in 2024.

Enhanced security

In Toulouse, “these are not the controllers” who will monitor traffic remotely but “the former soldiers of Tours who have converted to civilian life and assigned to Toulouse”explains Dominique Arnouil, project manager for the South-SNA-South Air Navigation Service, quoted by The Dispatch. Eventually, five regional airfields should be monitored from the base. The operators will be housed in a former civil aviation garage of 400 m², near the Toulouse-Blagnac airport tower.

A digital transition that could attract potential pirates. The remote control of operations as sensitive as the management of emergency calls, landing or take-off could be disrupted by a potential cyberattack.
On his websitethe service provider, Frequentis, ensures that “the provision of security support services” is possible. The company has also been ISO 27001 certified since 2011. A standard that defines the “methodology for identifying cyber threats, controlling the risks associated with crucial information (…), implementing appropriate protection measures to ensure the confidentiality, availability and integrity of information”recalls theAfnor. Optimum security that does not guarantee zero risk.

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