Foundation stone for the digital control tower centre

On Monday 15 April 2024, the foundation stone for the future digital control tower centre for the Walloon airports was laid in the ECOLYS Business Park (Namur).

As the first project of its kind in Belgium, this digital control tower centre reflects Wallonia's desire to be part of an ambitious digital ecosystem that will be operational in 2026. ​ Designed using cutting-edge technologies, it will be an example of carbon neutrality, incorporating geothermal energy, solar power and sustainable materials. It will also house SOWAER's new head office.

Given the specific nature of this project and the complexity of the special techniques used to ensure the security of the installations, this digital control tower centre will be perfectly suited to the future development of Walloon airports and will eventually replace the physical towers located at Liège and Charleroi airports.

Intelligent camera's

Thanks to intelligent cameras, relay antennas and augmented reality integrated into the system, air traffic controllers will be able to manage information that is not visible to the naked eye, particularly in poor visibility conditions. skeyes will supply the specific equipment needed for this control centre, and more specifically the masts erected at each airport, high enough to provide an adequate field of vision, with 14 cameras mounted on top. These relay images of the airport and its surroundings to 14 screens located in the Operations Room via the fibre-optic network, guaranteeing the system's redundancy.

« Today we are laying the foundation stone for what will soon be one of our country's most revolutionary buildings. By 2026, this pioneering project will make it possible to guide all air traffic at Charleroi and Liège airports, which are 100 km apart, from this digital remote control centre in Namur. It will provide Walloon airports with operational security for the future, while the integration of modern technologies into the system will make aviation even more reliable and safer," confirms Johan Decuyper, CEO of skeyes.
SOWAER, as the owner of this emblematic building, is delighted that this project, the only one of its kind in Belgium, is coming to fruition: "It is truly satisfying to see the start of this project, which has been 5 years on the drawing board. It is the fruit of close collaboration with skeyes, the joint venture Thomas & Piron Bâtiment - Cegelec - Vinci Facilities, the airport management companies and the Walloon public service. We wanted a sustainable building, focused on carbon neutrality, with intelligent energy management, renewable energies and sustainable or circular materials » explains Nicolas Thisquen, Chairman of SOWAERs Executive Committee.
Georges Gilkinet, Federal Minister for Mobility, explains: « This new digital tower will further enhance air safety in Belgium, which is already recognised as a leader in this field. Thanks to cutting-edge technology, air traffic controllers will be able to carry out their duties more efficiently. They will have access to more information, which is vital for ensuring air safety. These new tools will also make it possible to optimise traffic management, with benefits for both the economy and the environment. Reducing taxiing and waiting times will cut CO2 and NOx emissions. With this virtual tower in a prime location in the province of Namur, Belgium is at the cutting edge of air traffic management at its airports, while helping to make aviation ever safer and more sustainable. »
Adrien Dolimont, Minister for Walloon Airports : « The installation of this new ultra-modern air traffic control centre represents a step forward that will enable Wallonia to be a pioneer in Belgium in the development of this new technology. It will also promote synergies between management companies and operators, not forgetting that the building has been designed and will be built and fitted out using all the latest techniques to reduce its ecological footprint. With this new facility, Wallonia is confirming its commitment to developing the aeronautical sector in a way that is simultaneously digital, pragmatic and ecological. »


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About skeyes

skeyes ensures the safety and efficiency of air traffic in Belgium 24/7. The skeyes air traffic controllers manage over 3,000 aircraft every day, which makes up over a million flight movements per year. The autonomous public company is active at the heart of Europe, in one of the busiest and most complex sections of airspace of the continent. skeyes is active at Brussels Airport and at the airports of Antwerp, Charleroi, Kortrijk, Liège and Ostend. Thanks to its CANAC 2 control centre skeyes manages the flight movements above Belgium and a part of Luxembourg up to an altitude of 7,500 metres (*). The company relies on its nearly 900 experienced staff members who are at the service of their customers: airline companies, airports, the aviation sector and the authorities. skeyes also develops innovating services regarding drones and contributes to a sustainable future of the aviation sector, among other things with respect to the environment.

skeyes is a member of FABEC, a joint airspace block (Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland) with the aim of improving air navigation efficiency in the heart of Europe in the framework of the Single European Sky.

(*) The upper airspace of the Benelux countries and North West Germany is managed jointly with the EUROCONTROL centre in Maastricht. 


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