Airways' new $20 million Wellington air traffic control tower opens today but is likely to be one of the last big structures it builds.

The Lyall Bay leaning tower has been built "with a nod" to Wellington's wind and to withstand a tsunami.

From the 32-metre tower, 22 controllers will manage about 7800 flight movements each month at Wellington airport.

Chief executive of Airways, Graeme Sumner, said there would be more virtual towers in future. These enable monitoring of airfields in other centres from central locations, primarily using video monitoring.


"As we look to the future of a more digitally driven way of delivering air traffic control, it's fitting that one of the last of these physical towers to be built will be our most distinctive," he said.

Controllers will have 360-degree views of the airfield. They will complete final training and checks before they begin managing live traffic from the tower on Sunday.

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