The new generation of commercial wireless communications (5G) and the multiplication of 5G antennas have raised concerns of interference with aircraft operations, particularly for landing at airports. While most focused on the impact of the technology on consumers, it’s the enterprise world where 5G in aviation will really take flight.
5G’s Impact on the Entire Aviation Lifecycle
If leveraged properly, 5G deployments will touch every facet of the aviation lifecycle. At a high level, 5G will transform the industry in: manufacturing, airlines, and the passenger experience.
For example, 5G can provide manufacturers greater understanding of all its manufacturing processes and scenarios by enabling digital twins for aircraft blisks. Blisks are complex products that require high transmission rates, high reliability, and high data rates to produce. By deploying a 5G, manufacturers can ensure highly precise blisk manufacturing and real-time tracking capabilities.
It’s easy to imagine 5G’s impact on a structure such as an airport, but the airlines themselves can leverage 5G technology as well. The avionic systems inside airlines, for instance, can have accelerated communication with control towers via 5G connectivity. Also, real-time equipment monitoring using 5G networks can enable predictive maintenance. Airlines could also improve not only their aircraft, but also cargo and people movement, with 5G.
The opportunities are vast to utilize 5G to provide an improved passenger experience. From a logistics standpoint, QR code scanning to verify passengers’ identity can considerably reduce waiting periods and long queues. Real-time video streaming enabled through 5G could improve baggage control and monitoring, providing passengers with constant monitoring of their baggage during loading/unloading and the flight itself. When on the airplane, passengers could benefit from a 5G-enabled experience by lighter-weight and faster in-flight entertainment services.
The sky is truly the limit when it comes to 5G’s ability to transform the aviation industry.