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CAAS awards S$7m contract to trial smart digital tower at Changi

THE CIVIL Aviation Authority of Singapore (CASS) has awarded a contract of almost S$7 million to trial a smart digital air traffic tower at Changi Airport over 22 months, the regulator announced on Tuesday.

UK-based air traffic management service provider NATS beat out two other bidders to clinch the tender, which was launched in February 2017.

The aviation agency said: "CAAS will then evaluate the operational feasibility before determining the suitability and robustness of such a smart digital tower for a busy airport like Changi Airport."

A smart digital tower, equipped with a range of assistive functionalities and features, seeks to enhance air traffic management and safety of runway and ground operations, and to increase operational efficiencies at Changi Airport.

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The contract includes the set-up of multiple fixed-position cameras to feed live video onto a large wall, and provide a similar view to what air traffic controllers currently see from a physical tower.

NATS is one of the UK's leading providers of air traffic management services. It provides air traffic control services from centres at Swanwick, Hampshire; Prestwick, Aryshire; as well as air traffic control services at 14 of the nation's major airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

CAAS said that development works on smart digital tower operations have so far been focused on airports with low to moderate air traffic volume.

Kevin Shum, director-general of CAAS, said: "In concert with Singapore's Smart Nation drive, we are leveraging digital technology to transform the aviation industry in Singapore in many different ways."