If Austro Control plans to go, there will no longer be an on-site weather service at Salzburg and Innsbruck airports. On the other hand, there is a storm in both federal states, because critics see considerable disadvantages in the planned centralization in Vienna.
It has long been known that the Austro Control's flight weather service operating at Innsbruck Airport is to be dissolved. In the future, the data relevant for pilots will be delivered from Vienna. Now it has become known that the office in Salzburg is also on the brink and is also to be centralized in Vienna.
Trial operation is currently underway, in which the provision of weather data is collected both by on-site staff and by the ACG headquarters in Vienna. This has been practiced since April 2022. In the future, the meteorological data for Salzburg and Innsbruck airports will only be made available from Vienna. Criticism, on the other hand, is becoming ever sharper, because it is feared that centralization could be at the expense of flight safety. This is sharply denied by Austro Control.
However, there are internal reports that contradict the official view of the ACG. These are actually only intended for "internal use", but the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation reports on the content. For example, the head of the Salzburg air traffic control center believes that the reliability of the new system that the agency is intended to replace is "unreliable". For example, the sensors would provide data that he would classify as questionable. In particular, it would not be possible to recognize these minor fogs, which can often occur selectively in Salzburg. "Fog" would be reported, although this is actually not relevant. The consequence of this would be that the airport would have to be closed despite the best visibility.
The sensors should also not be able to distinguish between clouds and the steam engines of a nearby industrial plant. An employee with local knowledge can interpret this correctly, but not an automatic system controlled from Vienna. The conclusion of the report: “This system of remote monitoring – called remote – is unsuitable for mountain regions. The weather data provided is not of sufficient quality to enable orderly flight operations without economic disadvantages for Salzburg and Innsbruck.”
Another statement reads that the automatic system is also being criticized because its reliability has not yet been proven and blatant defects were revealed during trial operation. From a third report, the ORF quotes, among other things, that it would not be possible to correctly interpret and forward reliable information to the flight crews from a distance.
The official view of Austro Control is completely different: "This modernization has proven itself very well in the project implementation so far, and the conversion has been very successful". The "highest safety and quality standards" would also be guaranteed with the new system at all times.