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Changing of the Guards: The Impact of Handover Procedures on Human Performance in Multiple Remote Tower Operations

Part of the Research Topics in Aerospace book series (RTA)


Multiple Remote Tower Operations (MRTO) change the way air traffic is managed. In this concept, air traffic control officers (ATCOs) operate several aerodromes simultaneously from a specially designed working position, also referred to as a multiple remote tower module (MRTM). This change in operations also introduces significant changes in the ATCOs’ workflow and cognitive demands. In theory MRTO can facilitate the ATCOs’ ability to balance their mental workload through a flexible allocation of aerodromes to each MRTM, but new procedures need to be implemented to enable such flexible allocations: Appropriate handover procedures are needed to transfer aerodromes between MRTMs and their operators. This paper investigated the feasibility of handover procedures during simulated air traffic control as a mitigation to counteract inappropriate mental workload. In a human-in-the-loop real-time simulation, six ATCOs completed traffic scenarios with or without handover via two MRTM, dealing with a total of three aerodromes. Descriptive data showed no adverse short-term effects caused by the handovers and indicated possible beneficial long-term effects on cognitive capacity and safety. The handover procedures were overall feasible and accepted by the ATCOs, as a strategy to better balance mental workload in MRTO.


  • Human performance
  • Mental workload
  • Situation awareness
  • Air traffic control
  • Remote tower
  • Multiple remote tower

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The authors thank SESAR Joint Undertaking for funding this project (European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 730195) as well as their project partners Oro Navigacija and Frequentis AG for their collaboration.

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Correspondence to Anneke Hamann .

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Hamann, A., Jakobi, J. (2022). Changing of the Guards: The Impact of Handover Procedures on Human Performance in Multiple Remote Tower Operations. In: Fürstenau, N. (eds) Virtual and Remote Control Tower. Research Topics in Aerospace. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-93649-5

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