First Remotely Controlled Landing at Linköping / Saab Airport

(Photo: Per Kustvik / SAAB).

On April 30, the first aircraft to use remote air traffic control landed at Linköping / Saab Airport (IATA: LPI). This makes it the third Swedish airport to adopt this technology, and it will soon be fully operational for remote air traffic control.

The first flight to arrive under the new system was KL1179, a KLM Embraer 175 from Amsterdam. Per Kjellander, head of operations at the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration, LFV, said: “The approach and landing were remotely controlled by the air traffic controllers at the tower in Sundsvall, and at 10.00 the plane’s wheels hit the tarmac.” The landing was carried out three weeks after the airport had received approval for remote air traffic control operations from the Swedish Transport Agency.

This first landing will now be followed by a commissioning phase before air traffic control is fully transferred to the remote tower in Sundsvall. This is the same procedure as was used for commissioning remote air traffic control at Örnsköldsvik Airport in 2015 and Sundsvall-Timrå Airport in 2017.

Linköping’s remote air traffic control is the result of a collaboration between LFV and Saab. LFV conceives and develops the operative concepts while Saab provides the technical solutions.

“Today’s landing is an important milestone on the road to the local air traffic control services of the future. I am pleased that we can now begin using remote air traffic control at our own airport,” said Per Lindblad, CEO of Saab Airport AB.

Linköping/Saab Airport will be the first airport with remote tower services for both civil and military aviation. LFV said this makes the airspace more complex and puts even greater demands on the capacity of the system.

Mr Kjellander explained: “The commissioning of Linköping/Saab Airport means that Sundsvall and the county of Västernorrland will further strengthen their role as one of the hubs of remote tower services in Sweden. Later this year, Scandinavian Mountains Airport in Sälen will also be controlled from the remote tower in Sundsvall.”

The other hub for remote tower services in Sweden is currently being developed at Arlanda, where LFV and Swedavia are in the process of establishing remote air traffic control for four of Swedavia’s airports.