New Taoyuan airport control tower to facilitate smart aviation

Taipei-A new control tower at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport will be officially inaugurated next month amid efforts to boost smart aviation nationwide, Transportation Minister Lin Chia-lung (???) said Tuesday.

The NT$1.27 billion (US$41.6 million) control tower will replace the current 40-year-old tower on Dec. 16, making flight control easier and more efficient, Lin said during a tour of the tower.

The new tower, which is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, integrates 15 different systems so air traffic controllers can more easily monitor information on weather, radar signals, apron traffic and flight data, he said.

The tower is 65 meters tall (including a 3-meter-long antenna), 20 meters taller than the old building, providing an elevation that offers air traffic controllers a clearer view of the runways, said Sean Yuan (???), chief of the Taipei Approach Control Tower.

The design of the new control tower is based on the unique shape of the "Queen's Head," a geological formation in Yehliu Geopark in northeastern Taiwan.

With a radius of 7 meters, the control room is also 2.5 times the size of the old one, allowing 11 controllers to work at the same time instead of four, he said.

"The new facility is much more spacious and cozier, making work condition a lot better for our controllers, who usually have to work 8-12 hours a day under high pressure," Yuan said.

In addition, thanks to the much more integrated control panel, aviation control will be more detail oriented, according to Yuan.

Currently, four people work at the same time, each of them assigned to monitor the skyline in general, ground traffic on the north runway, the south runway, and give pilots clearance.

Yuan said that in future, it would be possible for two people to watch one runway, ensuring greater flight safety, as the airport is expected to see up to 400,000 flights per year within 20 years.

The airport currently handles about 730 flights per day, compared with less than 100 when the existing control tower was built, he said.

To improve air control quality, the new tower, which was built in 2016, also has a simulator room for training purposes.

In the NT$75 million room, which is three meters high and four meters in radius, trainees are to be surrounded by a 360 degree wall monitors that simulate the airport and asked to respond to various scenarios.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel