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London City is not a remote-low-traffic airport. Staffing a remote airport is like having lighthouse keepers. That I understand.

And yet the tower will be closed, and moved off-airport to become a virtual tower.

All those working on the project are very happy apparently, and the press releases (and videos) don't reveal much. I don't get it. The only thing that I saw as a positive, was an augmented reality overlay on the screens that highlights nearby drones.

(...) a critical new safety feature means the cameras will be able to pick out rogue drones near the airport, as well as light the runway at night.

Why would a major airport undergo such change? What problems are being solved?

  • $\begingroup$ My guess is because it only has one runway. It sounds like they’re saying the camera system is better than eyeballs anyway. $\endgroup$
    – TomMcW
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 3:31
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Oh heavens! Someone please adjust the color settings on those monitors!!! Yes, the sun is at the left, so the right ones should be darker, but not that much!! $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


London City is severely space-constrained, being on an island in the Thames. Moving the tower means more space for functions that cannot be moved.

... will also include an extended terminal building, enabling it to serve two million more passengers a year by 2025.

A high tower means substantial foundations, so you can't just stick the tower on top of another building. You have to build around it.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ the higher construction in the congested airspace of London (both air traffic into LC and police and other helicopters all over the place) would also cause problems. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Commented Jan 17, 2018 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ @jentwing -- but doesn't there have to be some sort of tower of that same height there anyway, to mount the cameras on? $\endgroup$ Commented May 22, 2021 at 15:19

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