Market need

Many small and mid-sized airports in southern Africa face a difficult migration from ageing airfield ground lighting (AGL) systems. Typically based on dated analogue technologies, such systems rely on manual controls across airports to switch lights on and off and offer no feedback facility, forcing airport personnel to physically check lights in all operations.

Moreover, older installations leave a growing number of airports in need of modern control systems that automate AGL operations and give air traffic controllers and maintenance personnel centralised control of individual lights or groups of lights, as well as feedback on the system’s operational status.

Technology solution

To provide for a migration that meets the requirements of any specific airport, Tellumat ATM has designed and developed a fully-customisable software-based AGL control system based on a programmable logic controller (PLC) hardware platform.

To ensure each set of requirements are met, AGL solutions are designed in consultation with the client. Solutions are networked, combining wired Ethernet (for components) with fibre optic (for the communication backbone) and modern networking architectures and protocols (for the controlling application).

Solutions interface to as many separate constant current regulators (CCRs) as needed, which provide the controls to the various AGL system components.

As part of individual implementation projects, the controllers can be used in combination with light emitting diode (LED) and halogen technologies.

The combined solution gives airports a custom automated control system for monitoring and managing the following AGL components:

  • Approach lights
  • Threshold and end lights
  • Runway edge lights
  • Taxiway edge lights
  • Precision approach path indicator (PAPI) lights
  • Heliport lights
  • Apron floodlights


The end result is a user-friendly automated AGL monitoring and control system that is front-ended by an intuitive touch screen-based graphical user interface. It allows for monitoring and control of the entire system from a single position within the air traffic control tower.

The system, locally designed and developed, is cost effective to implement, maintain or expand.