The airports at Braunschweig-Wolfsburg and Emden in northern Germany have commissioned DFS Aviation Services GmbH (DAS) and FREQUENTIS DFS AEROSENSE to construct a Remote Tower Centre (RTC) for northern Germany. The RTC project is an important part of Lower Saxony’s digital strategy, the so-called “Masterplan Digitalisation” and is subsidised by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Economics, Labour, Transport and Digitalisation with a grant of 5 million euros. The new control centre is scheduled to begin operations at the Braunschweig site in 2024 and will become the second RTC in operation in Germany.

DAS will take over all tower services in Braunschweig as early as 1 January 2023 and will provide air traffic control from the airport’s tower during the transition phase. It will thus replace the previous air navigation service provider, Austro Control. The new RTC is scheduled to be commissioned by mid-2024. DAS has already been providing the Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) at Emden airport since October 2018. From July 2024, both air navigation services will then be provided from the new RTC at the Braunschweig site.

“We are delighted to be able to initiate this forward-looking project together with the airports at Braunschweig-Wolfsburg and Emden. This will allow us to contribute the prior experience with RTCs gained within the DFS Group,” says Andreas Pötzsch, DAS managing director.

The remote tower concept allows air traffic control services at airports to be provided more efficiently and effectively. The RTC concept will be optimised within the framework of a research partnership with the Institute of Flight Guidance at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Braunschweig. In the long term, it is also planned to integrate other regional airports into the RTC in order to adopt a multi-remote approach and further reduce the cost of air traffic control.

“We are taking a big step towards the future with the establishment of an RTC in northern Germany,” says Michael Schwarz, managing director of Braunschweig-Wolfsburg airport.

“The integration of the Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFIS) into an RTC is a first for Germany. As a leading airfield for the off-shore wind industry, we view this as an important step that will enable us to offer our customers sustainable and forward-looking service packages,” adds Olaf Schmidt, managing director of Emden airport.

For the construction and operation of the RTC, DAS will collaborate with FREQUENTIS DFS AEROSENSE, a joint venture between the parent company of DAS, the DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, and the technology provider Frequentis, and ESPA GmbH. The camera technology and flight-monitoring system will be provided by FREQUENTIS DFS AEROSENSE, while DAS will provide the web-based air and ground situation system PHOENIX WebInnovation and the electronic strip system ATCON-TID.

The possibility of designing the new control centre as a multi-remote tower from the outset is due to the companies’ experience with the remote tower centre of DFS in Leipzig, which has been in operation for three years now. This multi-remote system is based on the third generation of remote tower concepts from FREQUENTIS DFS AEROSENSE, which is currently installed in Denmark.

“The intuitive automation and optimised controller working positions in the digital tower control centre reduce the workload of the ATCOs and facilitate multi-remote tower operations,” adds Christian Weiss, managing director of FREQUENTIS DFS AEROSENSE. “We are delighted to further advance the digitalisation of air traffic control with the implementation of the world’s first Multi Remote Tower Centre. We are thus setting an important new standard for the ATM industry.”