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 the provision of aerodrome ATS from locations/facilities where direct visual observation is not available. Instead, the 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 is ‘remote aerodrome ATS’.
This Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) addresses the evolving technological, procedural and operational aspects of remote aerodrome ATS, with the aim of facilitating its safe and uniform implementation by the EASA Member States, in accordance with the objectives of ATS, and of promoting the development and deployment of new digital technologies. The proposal is intended to support the stakeholders involved, in particular air navigation service providers (ANSPs), aerodrome operators, and national competent authorities (NCAs) in the decision-making and implementation activities. The NPA proposes revised and comprehensive guidance on remote aerodrome ATS, further developing that issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2019 with ED Decision 2019/004/R; it still relates to the existing regulatory framework, in particular but not limited to Regulation (EU) 2018/1139 (the ‘Basic Regulation’), Regulation 2017/373 (the ‘ATM/ANS Common Requirements Regulation’), Regulation (EU) No 139/2014 (the ‘Aerodrome Regulation’) and Regulation (EU) No 923/2012 (the standardised European rules of the air (SERA) Regulation).
The amended guidance duly considers a variety of inputs, such as implementation experience, technological and operational developments and novelties, stakeholders’ feedback, such as results from an extensive survey issued by EASA and subsequent inputs received from the related Rulemaking Group Members.
With this NPA, stakeholders are invited to provide feedback also on specific issues of ATCO licensing nature related to remote aerodrome ATS provision.
NPA 2022-02 is divided in two parts. NPA 2022-02 (A) includes:
- the procedural information pertaining to the regulatory proposal; and
- the explanatory note to the proposed amendments.
NPA 2022-02 (B) includes the proposed Guidance Material.