A smarter and safer airport with 5G

4 August 2020

The global 5G aviation market is projected to reach US$4.2 billion by 2026, as this next-gen mobile technology is rolled out across the globe. With its rich suite of capabilities, 5G will enable a plethora of services to enrich the airport experience, as well as to improve airport security and the safety of planes on the operational front.

The smart airport


Globally, more people are travelling than ever with more than 1.4 billion trips made in 2018. This is placing tremendous pressure on airports as they grapple with smartphone equipped transit passengers and tourists. To efficiently serve globetrotters and enable a new generation of capabilities, airports are turning to technologies such as 5G.

Empowered with support for extremely high densities of up to a million devices per kilometre, airport authorities or owners can build smart airports incorporating strategic innovations for a better experience while serving more travellers than before. From faster processing during boarding, more efficient ground handling operations, or being able to locate someone quickly across multiple terminals, 5G serves as a substantial performance multiplier for airports of the future.

Airports are also seeking to strengthen safety capabilities such as the Airport Emergency Service (AES) and Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF). Wireless coverage at airfields is often unreliable or unavailable, which can thwart efforts at automation and digitalisation. With the superior coverage of 5G, reliable and secure wireless service can be deployed across the entire airport to support AES and ARFF, including at remote locations or traditional mobile dead spots such as below the wings of aircraft.

A safer place

With connectivity to the remotest part of the airport, 5G enables a broad range of capabilities that extend beyond upgrades such as automated airport ground handling or robotised baggage handling systems. Security and safety are substantially beefed up too. Instead of having to rely solely on fixed CCTV with limited situational awareness, mobile surveillance platforms controlled using ultra-low latency 5G networks that can be quickly dispatched to support first respondents in an emergency.

Airport security can also be heightened by leveraging the enhanced bandwidth for capabilities such as facial recognition to identify threats or for emergency services to rush the appropriate aid to those in need. The network slicing capability of 5G can ensure that security-centric systems are kept private and that mission-critical systems get the priority they need.

5G helps with firefighting and rescue. The next-gen mobile network enables quicker, more effective responses in disasters such as an aircraft fire or a plane crash. When every second matter, 5G’s high-speed connectivity can provide critical real-time visuals and advanced information with 5G-controlled aerial drones that fly ahead of firefighting convoys.

Such drones are not constrained by the limitations of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). The enhanced geo-location positioning from 5G offers greater precision, allowing them to accurately map the areas around a crash site quickly and direct emergency workers. Finally, 5G offers extended coverage to support sea rescue operations, vital for airports that border the sea.

Reimagining the future with 5G

5G will redefine and empower the smart airport of the future. With greater reliability, vastly increased bandwidth, and low-latency communications, 5G networks have the potential to enable a wide range of applications and services at the airport. By delivering superior experiences, better safety, and simultaneously improving operational efficiency, airports can look forward to revenue growth.

StarHub Business is your trusted partner who will work alongside you to be 5G future-ready. We aim to make the onboarding to 5G simple, seamless, and transparent so that customers can focus on enabling their business instead of on the technology. Leverage the power of 5G to co-create possibilities – turn dreams into reality and ambitions into actual solutions. The future of business is a world of endless possibilities, experience 5G potential with StarHub as your market trial partner.


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