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The Importance of Using Glass Bead Markers at Airports

With flight delays costing the industry billions of dollars, the visibility of airport markings is critical to keeping planes on time. Airport industry regulations are clearly focused on airport safety and visibility. The use of reflective glass beads in combination with paint can increase visibility in the dark by up to six times, thus ensuring clear markings in airports. 

The glass beads themselves are small and have a similar appearance and texture to clear white sand. However, the glass beads provide a reflective material embedded in the paint. Different glass beads offer different reflectivity, durability, and compliance values. Here are a few important factors in using glass beads for marking at airports

glass beads

glass beads



Visibility is critical to maintaining on-time departures at airports. Airport-grade glass beads can significantly improve the reflectivity and contrast of airport markers, making them up to six times more visible than markers without glass beads.



Airport guidelines and taxiway markings need to be bright and reflective to reduce runway incursions and avoid accidents at airports. This is an important factor in improving airport safety. The higher the reflectivity rating of the glass beads, the higher the visibility from greater distances. Airport-grade beads are not only visible from the ground, but also from the air.


Glass beads not only greatly improve reflectivity, but they also increase the durability of the marker by 4-5 times compared to when glass beads are not used.

It is important to note that glass beads will work with any type of paint, as the structure of the chemicals in the paint needs to be sufficient to hold the glass beads in place and not just wrap them around. Therefore, to ensure that your line markers remain compliant, you need high solids to paint with compatible beads that are fit for purpose.


The application of the beads is as important as the type of beads you choose. It makes little sense to mix the beads with paint, as the reflectivity is severely reduced. Ideally, the paint needs to be applied through an airless sprayer and the beads applied using a pressurized bead system designed to maximize bead retention, durability, and consistent distribution.


To learn how airport beads work at your airport, contact a professional supplier to ensure you remain compliant and your line markings are clearly visible.


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