Cranfield shortlisted for prestigious air traffic control award


Cranfield University has been shortlisted in the Runway/Approach category of Jane's ATC Awards 2019, organised by Jane's Airport Review. The category recognises achievements leading to safety and efficiency on the runway and final approach.

Cranfield was nominated for its recently opened digital control tower and the £67 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC).Cranfield Airport became the first in the UK to have an operational digital air traffic control centre in December last year and DARTeC, due to open at Cranfield in 2020, will spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology.

Rob Abbott, Cranfield Airport’s Director of Aviation Operations, said: “We are very pleased to have been shortlisted for this award which recognises and builds on the importance of innovation and DARTeC. Our operational digital control centre is already improving visibility for our controllers and data from the centre will be shared with DARTeC as part of the work to develop more efficient airspace management methods at Cranfield’s global research airport.”

Cranfield’s digital control tower, supplied by Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions, replicates what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower with a 360-degree view of the airfield via HD cameras. The new system provides controllers with the ability to zoom-in on aircraft and enables smarter approaches to air traffic control by digitising and integrating airport functions.

DARTeC will address research challenges facing the aviation industry such as:

• the integration of drones into civilian airspace;
• increasing the efficiency of airports through technological advances;
• creating safe, secure shared airspace through secure data communication infrastructures; and
• increasing the reliability and availability of aircraft through self-sensing, self-aware technologies.

Co-investment support for DARTeC is being provided through a consortium of leading aerospace and aviation companies including Thales, Saab and Aveillant – as well as Research England and Cranfield University.

Winners will be announced at the ATC Awards ceremony during the World ATM Congress in Madrid on 12 March.

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