Smart Apron at Changi Airport

Initiatives for continued success

Efficiency just went up a notch at Changi Airport with the introduction of Wi-Fi at its apron area.

First announced in July 2016 where the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Changi Airport Group (CAG) will be investing more than $20 million to drive the Smart Apron initiative over the next six years, airside Wi-Fi has now been installed at the contact gates and baggage sorting areas in Terminal 3 and 4.  Eventually, Wi-Fi coverage will be extended to all aircraft stands at Terminals 1 and 2, and the remote and cargo aircraft stands.  Covering 190 hectares, the coverage area will be nearly twice the size of Gardens by the Bay. 

Airside Wi-Fi provides a new platform for the airport community to connect wirelessly, improving productivity for existing processes, while facilitating the transformation of airside operations. For instance, it enables the use of smart mobile devices for status reporting, asset tracking and accessing electronic service manuals in real time.

For the airlines, airside Wi-Fi facilitates the transmission of data such as operation manuals and flight maps directly to the aircraft, ensuring that airlines have access to the most updated information for their flights all the time. Airlines can also leverage the Wi-Fi to transfer their latest entertainment programmes from their server to their aircraft in double quick time as the latter are being prepared for flight departures.  This also saves the airlines money, as the transfer of data using telcos’ 4G networks costs substantially more.

Airside Wi-Fi enables faster transfer of information such as operation manuals and inflight entertainment programmes to aircraft.


For the ground handlers like SATS, airside Wi-Fi is used for baggage tracking.  At the baggage sorting area, baggage handlers use a handheld device to scan bags before loading them onto the baggage carousel for forwarding to their respective aircraft.  These handsets utilise Wi-Fi, capturing the data on each bag and transmitting the information to the baggage server.  This increases accuracy of the information captured, enhancing the ease of baggage tracking.

For aircraft servicing companies, airside Wi-Fi is especially handy as it improves productivity of its aircraft engineers servicing aircraft.  As a rule of thumb, the engineers need to refer to the latest aircraft servicing manuals for each job they are entrusted with.  However, as the manuals are constantly being updated, the engineers had to travel back to their corporate office at the airside to download the latest manuals onto hard copies before proceeding to their next aircraft job, even if the aircraft was only parked adjacent to their first job. 

With airside Wi-Fi, now all the engineers have to do is download the latest manuals into their smart device, and proceed directly to their next job.  This cuts down on much travelling time in between jobs, as well as the time needed to print out the thick stacks of manuals. 

Mr Steve Lee, Chief Information Officer and Group Senior Vice President of Technology at CAG said, “Airside Wi-Fi is an important catalyst in enhancing the efficiency of key processes which impact the experience of passengers, such as ensuring the on-time servicing and turnaround of aircraft for their next flights.  Airside Wi-Fi also enables the use of new technologies like augmented reality applications for operations and maintenance.    

“Moving forward, CAG will be introducing new modules in the airport’s operations app for the airport service workforce, which would enable useful information and services to be provided through the Wi-Fi channel.”

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