ENAV, the Italian air navigation service provider, completed the digitisation of the control tower operating system in Milan’s Linate airport, the second Italian airport after Milan Malpensa to undergo the transition to state-of-the-art operating systems. Thanks to this new technology – which has been fully operational since late February – all information and data, essential to managing the ground handling of both aircraft and vehicles, and to managing aircraft flying in close proximity to the airport, are available in real time and in interactive mode on the monitors of the Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs).

This system allows management of airport traffic with benefits in terms of timing precision and efficiency, resulting in improved environmental impact due also to reduced waiting times and, therefore, fuel consumption.

ENAV’s CEO Paolo Simioni stated: Technological innovation, system digitisation and a sustainable evolution of airspace infrastructure with top safety levels are at the core of our company’s strategy. The new system in Linate fully complies with all of this and, although this is a challenging time for aviation, ENAV is operating to assist the recovery by increasing traffic capacity, minimising delays in flight times and reducing the environmental impact.

From the airport towers, ENAV’s controllers manage all phases of flight in the airport and in close proximity of up to a distance of about 10 km. Before the new technology was implemented, landing procedures, movement of aircraft to parking bay and taxiing from parking to runway for departing aircraft, were managed by Controllers in the Tower by filling in and handing over, from one ATC to another, the so-called “flight progress strips”, which reported all info about each individual flight as well as reference to authorization issued.

Thanks to the new system just installed in the Linate Control Tower, flight progress strips have been digitalised: the ATC enters any update on the status of the flight from their workstation and makes it available – via automated transfer mechanism – to the ATC in charge of the next phase. The platform also comprises a new system for managing surveillance data and detecting potential interference among aircraft and vehicles in the areas of competence of the control tower.

The operation of technological reworking toward the new operating system started years ago with the renovation of buildings and facilities, and the replacement of radar and multilateration surveillance systems and of communication systems (Voice Control Switch). During this phase, ENAV was able to guarantee full and constant operation of the airport while training ATCs on the new system.