London City Airport brings in digital control, despite cyber alert

CITY resists hack fears to MAKE control tower digital
new tech to take off: City Airport is the first in the UK to sign off on a digital control tower Photo by Ben Walsh

THE chief executive of London City Airport says he harbours no fear after deciding to implement the UK’s first fully digital control tower.

Cyber security is a hot topic in the wake of the global ransomware hack that left some NHS services crippled.

And eyebrows were raised when CEO Declan Collier announced that the City’s control tower would be operated remotely from 2019 as part of a wider £350 million airport revamp. But he hit back by saying that no stone had been left unturned ahead of the decision to sign off on the new tech.

He said: “No chief executive is complacent about threats from cyber security. But we are very confident that the systems we’re putting in place here are secure, they’re safe, they’re managed very well.”

Controllers will now keep watch of the runway some 80 miles away – at the Hampshire base of Nats, Britain’s air traffic control provider – via live high-definition cameras.

The system is due to be finalised by next year, and will be in test mode for a full year prior to being introduced.

The tech has already been tested in Australia, Sweden, Norway and Ireland.