Cranfield’s airport is the first in the UK to have an operational digital air traffic control centre.

Supplied by Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, the innovative technology replicates what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower. It enables smarter approaches to air traffic control by digitising and integrating airport functions and improves a controller’s situational awareness, enabling quick and informed decisions.

The new system provides controllers with a 360-degree view of the airport and the ability to zoom-in on aircraft, improving visibility.

Digital aviation has often been cited as being the next significant business transformation in the sector and one which can support the aerospace industry towards delivering greater customer satisfaction, while addressing efficiency, cost and capacity issues.

With the pace of air travel growth already causing strains across the sector, and UK passenger numbers expected to increase by 49% by 2050, solutions other than expansion of airport capacity and ground infrastructure need to be found.

The airport is continuing its work with the Civil Aviation Authority in order to complete the transition from a traditional air traffic control tower to the new digital centre, providing a high-quality air traffic control service.