Western Sydney International Airport (WSI) has selected CDC Data Centres for its digital tower deployment.

The new airport will be one of the first in Australia to run a digital air traffic control tower, and is partnering with CDC (formerly Canberra Data Centres), Frequentis Australasia, and Airservices to develop the system.

CDC Eastern Creek Sydney Australia.jpg
CDC's facility in Sydney – Canberra Data Centres

Instead of a traditional air traffic control tower, WSI will deploy more than 20 high-resolution cameras to monitor the airport and airspace, which will be transmitted to a central Digitial Aerodrome Service (DAS) in Eastern Creek. Air traffic controllers will be stationed at the data center.

CDC's Eastern Creek Campus is the company's first campus in Sydney. It currently features four data center buildings, with two further under construction, and an operating capacity of 123MW.

Of the cameras, 16 will be in an array to see 360 degrees around the aerodrome, while the remaining four on top will pan, tilt, and zoom as needed.

The airport and its digital tower and data center will enter operations in 2026 and will be capable of handling 10 million annual passengers.

Should an incident occur such as a cyber attack or threat, the DAS will have three lines of defense, including a digital tower at Canberra Airport, and each camera will be individually cabled so that images can be stitched together should one camera go down.

In total, the new airport is the result of AU$5.3bn (US$3.51bn) in investment.

Airservices Australia CEO Jason Harfield said: "DAS is world-class technology that will improve the capability of our controllers, enabling us to deliver even greater levels of safety and increased capacity.”

WSI's CEO Simon Hickey added that the tower would bring together "the skills of Australia’s air traffic controllers, with cutting-edge digital technology to enhance safety and improve efficiency.”

“This exciting technology has earned its place in what will be an airport focused on delivering passengers and airlines an incredible experience.”

The DAS will enable new air traffic management tools such as object tracking, night vision, and image enhancement, which are expected to add capabilities beyond that of the human eye.

Similar technology is already in operation in the UK, Sweden and Germany. Airservices first announced it was beginning trials of digital towers in Sydney, Australia, in 2019.

The digital tower will result in 70 new Airservices jobs for Western Sydney across the organization’s Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) service, air traffic control, and maintenance and training services.

Elsewhere in Australia, the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport in New South Wales is planning to use a digital tower from 2025. This digital tower offering will be a collaboration between CASA and Airservices Australia and is expected to be operational by November 2025

CDC has data centers in Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne, Australia, as well as Auckland, New Zealand. The company acquired land in Sydney for a second campus in May 2023.