Aerospace in Asia to become major business arena from 2018

Beginning in 2018, the Japanese Quasi-Zenith Satellite System, known as “Michibiki” in Japanese, meaning pathfinder – especially apt since it will form the cornerstone to a non-military geographical positioning system, unlike the current Global Positioning System dependent upon the U.S. Department of Defense satellite network – will commence full operations. Unlike other conventional systems, it can offer very precise location information at an error rate of less than a meter and normally just a few dozen centimeters.

Along with such advances, the major Japanese airlines have or will be offering free WiFi connections on many of its flights, in face of more competition from Low Cost Carriers (LCCs) and between various airports. Furthermore, airport service including access thereto is becoming highly competitive and a variety of means as to transport (including access via heliports locally and even via waterways) are seen multiplying from regular rail or motor vehicle services, not to mention easier ticketing and luggaging schemes.

Of great interest is the new facial recognition system being implemented at Haneda International Airport by the Customs/Immigration Authorities under the auspices of the Japanese Ministry of Justice. The system has been adopted for use with Japanese nationals returning from overseas, in order to open up more time and personnel at Tokyo's nearest airport for entering foreign nationals who require more detailed processing. Panasonic is the main system vendor here, according to a recent press conference.

It is understood that the Japanese government will be placing similar facial recognition systems at other major airports throughout Japan, the next most likely being the larger airport serving her capital city, New Tokyo International Airport aka Narita. The two Tokyo area airports can expect a large influx of visitors from abroad with the holding of both the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the Olympics/Paralympics in 2020. As it is said, even those visitors to the Winter Olympiad in Korea next year are said to be making stopovers including at ski slopes in Japan before heading there.

Other major airports to follow suite are said to be Fukuoka, on the southernmost large island of the Japanese archipelago Kyushu; Kansai International Airport serving Osaka, Kyoto and vicinity; Chubu Centrair International Airport, covering Nagoya and the outlying metropolitan district; Sendai International Airport located in the Tohoku region; and Chitose International Airport, not far from the famed Niseko ski slopes and Sapporo, in Hokkaido.

It is foreseen that other air transport and aerospace-related endeavors covering not just Japan but thanks to Michibiki with its figure-of-eighjt orbit covering much of southeast Asia as well as a goodly portion of Oceania (Australia in particular being a potential beneficiary) will lead to a multitude of new businesses, from mitigating risks therein to improving logistical movements as well as communications.

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