Tomasz Zajda -

Cologne Bonn Airport extends Tetra digital radio network

German Airport taps Motorola Solutions in 10-year agreement to provide essential radio technology supporting safe and reliable airport services

Looking to allow frontline workers such as ramp agents, baggage handlers, service personnel and logistics partners to communicate and securely manage essential workflows, Cologne Bonn Airport has awarded Motorola Solutions a contract to update its Terrestrial Trunked Radio (Tetra) standard digital radio network.

Said to be one of the most important commercial airports in Germany, both for passengers and for cargo, Cologne Bonn Airport served 8.8 million passengers and handled 971,000 tonnes of air cargo in 2022, and is seen as integral to its local region’s economic development, serving as an important hub for business and tourism. Around 15,000 people are employed by 130 companies and authorities at the site, more than 1,700 directly by the airport company itself.

Every year, more than 120 destinations in Europe and beyond are served from the site, which lies at the logistical heart of North Rhine-Westphalia.

In 2022, around 971,000 tonnes of air cargo were handled here. CGN is the only place in Germany used as a hub by the three major express couriers, UPS, FedEx and DHL.

Offering communications over a highly resilient and secure infrastructure, Tetra typically sees use among first responders and military personnel in day-to-day operations and emergency situations. Key facets include the ability to use land mobile radio (LMR) and broadband services to maintain reliable and uninterrupted communication through talk groups when radio users move out of range, for example, in indoor or underground facilities.

Motorola Solutions boasts experience in providing reliable and secure Tetra radio services to airports across the world, including the European airports Barcelona-El Prat in Spain, Gardermoen Airport in Norway, and the German airports Halle/Leipzig, Stuttgart and Baden-Airpark, among others.

In addition to the refresh of the existing Tetra network, Cologne Bonn Airport awarded Motorola Solutions a 10-year service contract to optimise network operations 24/7 while also enabling technological advancements. Motorola Solutions will also provide technical support, maintenance and repair services.

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As part of the contract with Motorola, the technology provider will deploy a DIMETRA X Core system to support secure voice and data communications, as well as coordinate complex logistics, manage cargo, deliver improved passenger services, and provide full coverage both inside and outside terminal buildings. The system uses redundancy to prevent single-point failure risks, and will also make administration more efficient by enabling centralised management of the communications network.

“The resilience of its communications networks is key to any airport’s ability to communicate – both for everyday operations and in times of emergency,” said Michael Kaae, corporate vice-president at Motorola Solutions. “The new system will deliver flexibility and scalability, helping the airport to meet the growing demands of modern aviation. Additionally, Cologne Bonn Airport’s largest shipping and distribution partners, who use the airport as a major logistics hub, will also be relying on the network.”

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