United States: airlines are alarmed at “chaos” if 5G is not limited near airports

At the center of concerns, the possible disturbances on the on-board instruments and their consequences on the planes.

The bosses of ten American airlines expressed alarm to United States authorities on Monday about the potential “chaos” what the deployment of ultra-fast 5G mobile internet technology around airports would represent, in a letter obtained by AFP.

“Immediate response is required to prevent significant operational disruption to passengers, carriers, supply chains and the delivery of essential medical supplies”, they write two days before the planned entry into service of 5G.

Actors in the aviation sector in the United States are concerned about the consequences of 5G on aircraft due to possible disruptions to on-board instruments. “On a day like yesterday (Sunday), more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subject to cancellations, detours, or delays”, fear in particular the bosses of American Airlines, Delta, or Southwest, but also those of the air divisions of the logistics giants FedEx and UPS.

“Given the short time remaining and the significance of this completely preventable economic calamity, we respectfully request that you support and take all necessary actions to have 5G deployed with the exception of when towers are too close to tarmacs. airports”, they ask the US government, the aviation security agency, the FAA, and the telecom policeman, the FCC. They want a break, “until the FAA can determine how this deployment can be accomplished safely without catastrophic disruption”.

New guidelines

At the beginning of January, the airlines had obtained a new deadline, until Wednesday, for the deployment of the new frequency bands. They threatened, via their federation Airlines 4 America, to sue the telecommunications giants AT&T and Verizon in order to obtain this delay and technical modifications in the deployment of the latest generation of ultra-fast mobile Internet. 3.7-3.8 GHz frequency bands were awarded to AT&T and Verizon in February 2021 following a bidding process worth tens of billions of dollars.

Amid concerns about potential interference issues with altitude-measuring devices on airplanes, the FAA had issued new guidelines limiting the use of these on-board devices in certain situations. But American airlines have protested against the potential costs incurred, and called on the authorities to quickly find a solution.

In December, European aircraft manufacturers Airbus and American Boeing also expressed their “worry” about possible disturbances on the instruments on board their devices by 5G, in a letter to the United States Department of Transport.


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