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  1. ITV Report

Planes at London City Airport to be directed by digital control 80 miles away

London City Airport is to become the first UK airport to install a digital air traffic control tower.

The airport will decommission its traditional tower in 2019, meaning aircraft will be directed 80 miles away in Hampshire by controllers watching live footage from high-definition video cameras.

They will see a 360-degree view of the airfield in more detail than by using the human eye.

London City Airport chief executive Declan Collier said he is confident the system is safe from the threat of a cyber attack.

No chief executive is complacent about threats from cyber security. Over the last week we've seen a major issue arise for the NHS. But we are very confident that the systems we're putting in place here are secure, they're safe, they're managed very well. We use the highest level of cyber security in order to protect our systems.

– Declan Collier, London City Airport
Architectural drawing of the London City Airport's digital tower

Under the existing system, controllers sit in a tower overlooking the runway to direct around 300 flights per day.

A live feed from the 14 high-definition cameras and two cameras able to pan, tilt and zoom will be sent via fibre cables to a new operations room built at the Swanwick base of Nats, Britain's air traffic control provider.