Top Ten Amazing Air Traffic Control Towers

24 May 13 One Comment

When I’m not flying, I like to look at all the places around the world I could go, if I were flying. And today, that led me towards looking at Air Traffic Control towers around the world. These are my ten favourite towers, along with one bonus disused tower which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

10. Bangkok

The easy place to start is the towering tower at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. This is the tallest free-standing control tower in the world at 135 metres (445 feet). But if the lift breaks, wow, that’s a whole lot of stairs to climb.

9. Lossiemouth

The caravan you can see on the right of this photograph is a “mobile air traffic control tower”. At RAF Lossimouth air base, the far western end is not in sight of the air traffic control tower, so they use this mobile tower to keep an eye on the western runway.

8. Dubai

This beautiful tower at Al Maktoum International Airport isn’t as tall as Bangkok’s, but it is the tallest freestanding tower in the Middle East. It isn’t officially open for passenger flights until October of this year but it’s planned to be the world’s largest passenger and cargo hub.

7. Aberporth

I admit it, I seem to have a thing for Air Traffic Control Towers that look nothing like Air Traffic Control towers. This one is in West Wales, at Aberporth airport, which is focused on drone research. The caption says that the tower is the home of John, the friendliest controller in the UK.

6. Anywhere

Need an Air Traffic Control Tower in a hurry? These Rapid Deployable ATC Towers look really useful! These self-contained units are transported by C-130 and C-17s and can be set up within an hour.

5. Antwerp

This beautiful twisting air traffic control doesn’t actually exist yet. In fact, it’s not an air traffic control tower at all. It was designed for the port of Antwerp by UN Studio. I don’t know that ships actually need such a high control tower, but once it is in place, I bet it’ll attract planes.

4. Milan

OK, this isn’t beautiful by any stretch of the imagination but I love it anyway. It looks like a giant robot. Also, this video of the window cleaners made me think that would be the funnest job ever.

3. Mumbai

This gorgeous red and white checked tower was designed to be visible from a distance. They sure have achieved that – it’s stunning! It’s also the highest tower in India at 83 metres / 272 feet.

2. Vancouver

The actual tallest-in-the-world control tower (not freestanding) is this one at Vancouver Harbour in Canada. It’s actually a relatively small tower …placed on top of the 142 metre / 466 foot skyscraper. Very clever!

1. Prestwick

I love this tower at RAF Prestwick more than any other tower in the world. Sadly it is gone: it was in use from 1943 to 1962 and then torn down when Prestwick Airport expanded.


And finally, in the “seen better days” department, we have Wingleigh. This ATC tower in North Devon doesn’t seem like it would be very useful for plane spotting. The aerodrome closed in 1945. Apparently the tower is now being used as a sheep pen.

Category: Miscellaneous,

One Comment

  • Went shopping at a mall outside of Auckland air field – their lovely new tower being constructed by the mall in 2016 – always wondered if they moved the fence to secure their tower or they had to access the tower under ground from inside the the airfield perimeter for security??.

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