Aircraft movements at multiple airports across Ireland could in future be controlled remotely by a single air traffic controller in a control tower at another airport, following the successful trial of remote tower technology.
Over 50 demonstrations were carried out last summer by the Irish Aviation Authority and its international consortium partners during operational trials of the system.
The IAA said today that the tests had been highly successful and with carefully designed procedures, it will almost certainly be possible to allow one controller to simultaneously provide services for more than one low volume aerodrome.
The system saw the installation during the early part of last year of remote towers, sensors and cameras at Shannon and Cork airports, as well as a remote tower centre in Dublin.
The remote sites were then connected to the centralised control room in Dublin.
Trials began with low volume traffic, similar to night movements at both remote airports, with the levels of activity gradually increased to test what could safely be achieved.
It was the first time anywhere in the world that such a trial has been done of multiple remote tower operations by a sole air traffic controller.
While still in its infancy, and only in use in a small number of airports around the world, the technology has the potential to reduce costs for authorities involved in air traffic movement, particularly at low volume regional airports.
The IAA says further rollout and use of the technology in Ireland would be subject to successful completion of safety assessments, regulatory approval and appropriate stakeholder consultation.
Regulatory approval at European level is also needed.