NPA 2017-21

Technical and operational requirements for remote tower operations

The concept of remote provision of aerodrome air traffic services (ATS) (commonly known as ‘remote towers’ or ’remote tower operations’, sometimes referred to as ‘digital towers’) enables provision of aerodrome ATS from locations/facilities where direct visual observation is not available. Instead, provision of aerodrome ATS is based on a view of the aerodrome and its vicinity through means of technology. The term that is used to describe this in this NPA is ‘remote aerodrome ATS’.

This Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) addresses the technological, procedural and operational aspects of remote aerodrome ATS, in order to facilitate its safe and harmonised implementation throughout EASA member states, in accordance with the objectives of ATS.

The overall objective of this rulemaking task is a maintained or increased level of safety in cases where ATS is provided from a remote tower, compared to ATS provided from a conventional tower.

Therefore, this NPA introduces ‘guidelines on remote aerodrome air traffic services’ – which is within the scope of the current regulatory framework (Commission Implementing Regulations (EU) No; 1034/2011, 1035/2011, 2017/373, 139/2014 and 923/2012) – intended to support ATS providers and aerodrome operators implementing remote aerodromes ATS, as well as to support their competent authorities. At the same time, this NPA proposes a set of updated Acceptable Means of Compliance (AMC) and Guidance Material (GM) to Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/340 laying down technical requirements and administrative procedures relating to air traffic controllers’ licences and certificates.

In addition to a safe and harmonised implementation of remote aerodrome ATS, the proposed changes are expected to promote the development of new technology and to facilitate an efficient and proportionate ATS.

The content of this NPA does not address social or economic aspects related to remote aerodrome ATS which would need to be addressed at a local level.