Remote Towers Services (RTSs) are one of several technological and operational solutions that the SESAR program is delivering to the ATM community for deployment. Over the last years, the Swedish ANSP Luftfartsverket (LFV) has been working on the deployment of the RTS concept as an alternative to traditional Air Traffic Service (ATS).
In 2015 and 2016 LFV and Swedavia conducted a joint feasibility study to analyze the impact of the transition from traditional tower ATS to RTS for five additional appointed airports in Sweden. The study confirmed that RTS is technically and operationally feasible, the level of risk is manageable, and that it is deemed financially advantageous to use RTS for these airports. In particular, the study identified several issues related to staff scheduling when multiple airports are operated from a single center.
The main research questions are: How to distribute the workload from several airports over several controller working positions?
How to assign a qualified controller at each position, respecting the constraints on the durations of controllers shifts, breaks and the necessity of maintaining ratings?
Within the project we develop a general optimization framework designed as a flexible tool for future staff planning. The model under development is discussed with operational experts to provide a picture on staffing constraints as close as possible to reality.
The results of this work help to evaluate efficiency of the RTC concept in general and give intuition for further deployment. Furthermore, the designed techniques and tools will be applied to other sets of airports being considered for remote operation.