Control Towers around the World: Tallest, Oldest, First Remote…

While the planes lined up in the sky wait for the landing sequence, on the other hand, the planes that are queued at the runway count minutes for the take-off moment. Some planes have landed, taxiing to the parking position, some leave the parking position with their cargo and/or passengers and head towards the runway for a departure. Those on the final approach phase and iron birds that just left the sky of the airports. Come on let’s have a closer look to one of the vital parts on these safe operations: Control towers!

This mobility is experienced at every airport depending on the density. One of the heroes behind the flawless execution of air traffic flow is air traffic controllers. We hardly see people working in air traffic control towers, but towers have a meaning for every passenger. Air traffic control towers are one of the most iconic structures of airports. The towers, which enable air traffic controllers to manage the traffic in the vicinity of aerodrome and on the ground in the best way, are therefore the tallest structures in the airport.

In some airports, and even in countries such as Singapore, attention is paid to the fact that the place these towers represent reflects the characteristics of the region. For this reason, special competitions are held, famous architects are invited to design a tower architecture that reflects the characteristics of the city or region it represents.

Often built independently of the terminal or other service buildings of the airports, the towers are sometimes noted for their interesting designs, such as those at Abu Dhabi and Edinburgh airports.

abu-dhabi and edinburg towers
Abu Dhabi Airport Control Tower Edinburgh Airport Control Tower

We can say that Istanbul airport control tower is one of the most important figures to be used to describe the airport or even the historical Istanbul.

istanbul airport control tower

First Tower Built in London

The first air traffic control tower in the world was built in London in 1921, Croydon Airport. It served London’s main airport until the day it was closed in 1959.

airport of croydon
Source: airportofcroydon.com

First Remote Tower in Sweden

While technology is developing at a dizzying pace, it is unthinkable that it should not stop by the towers. Yes, it seems that the number of towers at airports will decrease due to technology. Because, with the remote tower system, air and ground traffic control may not need to be from the airport towers in the coming years. With the technology developed and the concept of “remote tower”, studies are in question to manage the process with the help of cameras and sensors in a center far from the airport. The first example of this was implemented in Sweden. Since April 21, 2015, air traffic at Örnsköldsvik Airport is managed from Sundsvall-Timrå Airport, 177 km away, thanks to the “remote tower” developed. The approval of this system also took its place in history as a first in the world. “Remote tower” remains the only system in the world approved for operation. The system enables the airport to use air traffic services at required times. In other words, efficiency, functionality stands out as an economical solution.

remote tower in sweden
Örnsköldsvik Airport Remote Control Tower

‘Green Roof’ Tower

 Located at Chicago’s O ‘Hare Airport, the tower is thought to be an integral part of the skyscraper logic that dominates the city. Although it is considerably shorter than the skyscrapers in the city center, the air traffic control tower has become one of the most special symbols of the city. Chicago’s air traffic control tower is also a part of the environmentalist policy that prevails throughout the city with its “green roof” concept.

Fully Glass Tower

The feature that highlights Dayton, another American airport, is its exterior. The tower, which is completely made of glass from floor to ceiling, has a very special architecture. This 2,800 square meter glass building is among the most interesting air traffic control towers.

Two of the Tallest Towers in the World are in Malaysia

 The KLIA2 Tower of Kuala Lumpur Airport, the capital of Malaysia, is 133.8 meters long and is the tallest air traffic control tower in the world. Another 130-meter-long tower of the airport, where 340 thousand aircraft land and take off annually, is the third tallest air traffic control tower in the world. The airport, which holds the title of the second tallest tower by entering between the 2 towers of Kuala Lumpur, is from the Far East, Bangkok. The annual aircraft activity of Suvarnabhumi Airport, which hosts the 132.2 meter tall control tower, is approximately 290 thousand.

klia2 tower malaysia
Source: klia2.info

Control Tower Controlling Around 100 Million Passengers

Holding the title of the world’s busiest airport, Atlanta Airport is also home to the fourth tallest air traffic control tower in the world.

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