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UK's first digital air traffic control

An airport in Bedfordshire has unveiled the UK's first ever digital air traffic control.

Cranfield Airport in Bedfordshire, England have replaced the usual windows in their air traffic control stations with a digital panoramic view, featuring live footage from high-definition cameras to help them guide planes in and out of the airport.

These 14 screens can be zoomed into if necessary, which is particularly helpful during times of low visibility due to poor weather conditions, for example.

Johan Klintberg, Saab Digital Air Services chief executive, said: "This is a historic moment for air travel in the United Kingdom and shows the future of the UK's aviation sector lies in leading-edge technology combined with operational expertise."

Whilst Rob Abbott, director of aviation operations at Cranfield University, added: "The new digital system will improve our air traffic controllers' situational awareness, enabling quick and informed decisions, leading to opportunities for improved safety and efficiency. With our partners, Saab, we are working extremely closely with the regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, to ensure we meet all the safety standards required of traditional air traffic control systems."

And there is hope this type of software could be expanded to be used at other airports across the country over the coming years.

Aviation Minister Liz Sugg shared: "Cranfield's new control centre is a fantastic example of harnessing technology to improve the efficiency of flights. The upcoming Aviation Strategy consultation will set out how the Government proposes to encourage the use of innovative technology to achieve sustainable aviation growth and enhance passengers' experience."

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