“The future of air traffic control: ” Test centre built for Namur’s digital control tower

by | May 8, 2024 | Flight Ops IT, Innovation

In 2026, air traffic at Charleroi and Liège airports will be remotely managed by a single digital control tower centre in based in Namur. The centre will oversee all ground movements during landing and take-off at the two airports.

Recently, SOWAER (Société Wallonne des Aéroports) and the Belgian air navigation service, skeyes, debuted the ‘Digital Tower Test Centre’ prototype at their site in Steenokkerzeel. The test centre is “almost identical” to the one currently being built in Namur and will be used to familiarise staff with the new technologies, train air traffic controllers, and deliver a seamless transition once the Namur centre is open. While the test centre is fed with real-time images from the masts in Liège and Charleroi, it does not have module for communicating with aircraft.

These digital towers are “the future for air traffic control,” using advanced cameras, infrared systems, and sensors at airports to receive real-time images on large screens at control centres showing a 360° view of the airport’s horizon. A ground radar system supplements this by pinpointing aircraft locations, even in poor weather. Augmented reality further enhances control by projecting extra information onto aircraft, aiding traffic management.

Eventually, the digital control centre in Namur will replace the physical towers at Charleroi and Liège airports. The innovative approach to air traffic control complements the wider digital transformations at the airports, illustrating their efforts to modernise infrastructure, streamline operations, and improve safety standards.


Image credit: skeyes


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