Sweden opens world's first remote air control tower

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Sweden on Tuesday inaugurated the world's first remote air control tower at the northern Ornskoldsvik airport, air traffic authorities said.

"The first Remote Tower Services landing!," Sweden's Air Navigation Services (LFV) announced on Twitter, under a picture taken from the plane before it landed around noon (6:00pm Singapore time).

The plane flew from the town of Sundsvall to Ornskoldsvik, around 150 kilometres to the north. Both the take-off and landing were guided by the air traffic control tower in Sundsvall.

According to LFV, cameras and sensors collect live-time information at the Ornskoldvik airport's remote tower, which is relayed to air traffic controllers in Sundsvall.

"We are the first in the world to have a remote tower ... The pilots in the plane were in contact with the tower in Sundsvall," LFV's communications director Elisabeth Lindgren told public radio SR.

Pilots experienced no difference in their communication with the tower.

"With the help of technology, air traffic is controlled the same way as in a traditional tower," LFV said in a statement.

"It went very safely!," a SR journalist on board the first flight told the radio with a laugh after the landing, one of the 50 passengers on board.

"I held on to the armrest tightly but there was no problem. And if I understood correctly, for the pilot it made no difference," she added.

The two airports were chosen "for geographic reasons", Lindgren said without providing further details.

The technology is expected to be gradually rolled out in other airports in Sweden.

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