Munich airport is to trial a virtual control tower system in 2025, to test the suitability of such a system for larger airports.

A contract to supply this system has been awarded to Frequentis DFS Aerosense.

After the system has been validated from an operational and technical perspective, specific use cases can be defined – for example, setting up a virtual tower as an interim system during the renovation of the control tower at Munich Airport, required in the coming years.

The working environment of the virtual tower will be housed at the DFS branch in Munich. The 360-degree panorama cameras and the pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras will be mounted on the existing control tower as part of the project. The 4K cameras will transmit the information to high-resolution screens in the DFS branch, serving as the best possible substitute for the view from the tower itself.

Commenting on the project, DFS chief executive Arndt Schoenemann said: “DFS has been operating remote tower systems successfully for many years. Air traffic at Saarbrücken and Erfurt Weimar airports has been controlled since 2018 and 2022 respectively from the DFS Remote Tower Control Center in Leipzig hundreds of kilometres away. As Munich Airport is an important international hub, the virtual tower there will enable us to explore its potential and offer an opportunity to take a further step towards more digitalisation in the air traffic control world.”

Frequentis chief executive Norbert Haslacher said: “Setting up the digital tower system and the validation of the solution for larger hub airports are a major milestone for the digitalisation of air traffic control. I hope it will open up a wide range of potential applications and serve as an international flagship project.”
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