Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) in Germany has partnered with IT service provider NTT to develop a wholly private 5G mobile phone network across its 1,000ha premises.

Under this joint research and cooperation project, the duo will work on technological innovations, including border control and intelligent luggage checking.

The aim of the collaboration is to enhance the operational efficiency of the airport.

This network is said to be ‘one of Europe’s largest’ private 5G mobile phone networks.

The network will enable the future monitoring of the precise location of people and devices, as well as the transportation of luggage on self-driving vehicles.

It will also offer intelligent services for the logistics hubs and facilitate the usage of autonomous robots for security.

For this project, the airport has been awarded a licence by the Federal Network Agency from the industry spectrum, with frequencies ranging from 3.7GHz to 3.8GHz.

The airport stated that a private network will provide stabilisation in the processes with low levels of downtime, allowing customisable operational and security strategy.

Flughafen Köln/Bonn president and CEO Johan Vanneste said: “We see the decision to set up our own 5G network covering the entire premises of the airport as an important strategic step.

“Having continuous connectivity and our own high-speed mobile network will open up a range of completely new possibilities for our processes and services, which will not only be of benefit to our airport operations but also to the businesses that are based here and to our passengers.”

The private network will help in the management of mobile security systems, the Internet of Things (IoT) and automated vehicles on the runway.

It is expected to provide enhanced processing of data flows and improved connectivity.

NTT German branch managing director Kai Grunwitz said: “In the course of this joint research and cooperation project, we are not only planning the theory, but we are also implementing and optimising one of the largest completely private 5G mobile networks in Europe. This allows us to research, develop and test innovative and future-oriented applications.”