A Luxair regional airliner was the first aircraft whose landing was controlled from the DFS Remote Tower Control Centre. The aircraft, a Bombardier DHC 8-400 from Luxembourg, touched down on the runway in Saarbrücken at 6:51 a.m. on 4 December 2018. At 6:53 a.m., a regional aircraft of the same airline was the first aircraft to receive a takeoff clearance from Leipzig. The aircraft, a Bombardier CRJ 700, took off on schedule and headed for Berlin Tegel Airport. The last aircraft controlled from the old tower took off on 3 December at 10:01 p.m. The destination of the Luxair flight was Luxembourg.
Ten air traffic controllers work at the new Remote Tower Control Centre in Leipzig, having moved there from Saarbrücken. Even without a direct view from the tower, they can monitor the airport remotely due to the advanced camera system installed at Saarbrücken Airport. Video and infrared cameras deliver a permanent 360-degree view of the airport. Static cameras covering the apron and pan-tilt-zoom video and infrared cameras have been set up, allowing smallest details to be seen.
The air traffic controllers have a much better view as a result of the infrared technology, especially during bad weather and at night. The remote tower control system can support controllers in their work, where it can automatically detect movement and highlight objects. If desired, the pan-tilt-zoom cameras can automatically track objects. DFS developed the remote tower system over the last four years together with Frequentis. The system successfully passed numerous tests under live operating conditions.
The tower in Saarbrücken will remain operational until the control of air traffic is transferred from Saarbrücken to Leipzig on 4 December 2018. After the four-week introductory phase, DFS will move operations to Leipzig permanently.