NPR has a story on the first ever remote-control Airport, which is located in Sweden. A similarly modeled airport is set to open this summer in the United States.
As our plane touches down in Sundsvall, Sweden, the horizon is all snow and ice. A small air traffic control tower sticks out above the white horizon.
But this airport actually has two air traffic control centers. The second one is just a short walk from the airport runway.
Inside a ground-floor, windowless room, there’s a display that looks exactly like what you’d see out of an air traffic control tower. You can see the snowy runway, you can see the trees, you can even see a car pulling into the airport parking lot.
But instead of windows, these are actually screens. And the airport you’re looking at isn’t the one in Sundsvall. It’s the one in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden — about 105 miles away.
Ornskoldsvik is the first airport in the world to land passenger planes remotely. This summer, an airport in Leesburg, Va., will become the first American airport to use the new technology.
Erik Backman runs the remote airplane landing center in the town of Sundsvall. He explains that the town of Ornskoldsvik has a tiny airport, and it’s expensive to keep air traffic controllers there who spend hours with no planes to land.