Major US airlines warn that 5G could land some planes and wreak havoc

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (Reuters) – Leading executives of major U.S. passenger and cargo carriers have warned of a “catastrophic” aviation crisis within 36 hours on Monday, AT&T said. (TN) And Verizon (VZ.N) Ready to use the new 5G service.

Airlines have warned that the new C-Band 5G service, which is due to launch on Wednesday, will make a significant number of whiteboard flights unusable, “trapping tens of thousands of Americans overseas” and causing “confusion” for American flights.

“If our main destinations are not allowed to fly, the vast majority of the passenger and shipping public will essentially land,” wrote American Airlines CEOs. (AAL.O), Delta Airlines (From N), United Airlines, Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) Others in a letter originally reported by Reuters.

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned that potential interference could affect sensitive aircraft equipment such as altimeters and significantly affect low visibility operations.

“On a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers had cancellations, diversions or delays.” Letter Warned.

Late on Monday, airlines were considering whether to start canceling some international flights arriving in the United States on Wednesday.

“Due to the proposed restrictions on selected airports, the transport sector is preparing for some service disruptions. We are confident that we will be able to work with factories and the government to finalize solutions that can safely mitigate as many schedule disasters as possible,” said Boeing, an airline manufacturer. (BA.N) Said on Monday.

The move is urgent, the airline said in a letter signed by UPS Airlines (UPSN), Alaska Air (ALK.N), Atlas Air (AAWW.O), JetBlue Airways and FedEx Express (FDX.N). “Frankly, the country’s trade is paralyzed.”

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The letter went to White House National Economic Council Director Brian Dees, Transport Secretary Pete Boutique, FAA Administrator Steve Dixon and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworse.

The group that organized the letter, Airlines for America, declined to comment. The FAA said, “As wireless companies use 5G, we will continue to ensure the safety of the traveling public. The FAA continues to work with the Department of Aviation and wireless companies to control flight delays and cancellations related to 5G.”

Other government agencies did not comment.

Intervention needed ‘

San Diego, USA, US On January 6, 2022, US telecommunications companies, airlines and the FAA continued to discuss the potential impact of 5G wireless services on aviation electronics in San Diego, California as the Southwest Airlines Flight landed at San Diego International Airport. Approaching. REUTERS / Mike Blake

AT&T and Verizon, which won almost all of their C-band spectrum at auction last year for $ 80 billion. On the 3rd it was agreed to the buffer zones around 50 airports to reduce the risks of interruption and to minimize possible interruptions for six months. After a 30-day delay in service earlier, they agreed to temporarily remove the air traffic safety blockade and delay the deployment by two weeks until Wednesday.

Verizon and AT&T declined to comment Monday. They argue that C-band 5G has been used successfully in about 40 countries without interruption problems.

CEOs of major airlines and Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun made lengthy calls with Boutique and Dixon on Sunday to warn of a crisis, officials told Reuters.

Late on Monday, United Airlines individually warned that the issue could affect more than 15,000 of its flights, 1.25 million passengers and tons of cargo annually.

“Major cities such as Houston, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago face significant restrictions on 787s, 777s, 737s and regional flights,” United said.

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At some major airports, airlines are asking for “approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) of airport runways to be 5G enabled in the country”.

“Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruptions to airline passengers, shippers, supply chain and supply of essential medical supplies,” they said.

The airlines added that flight restrictions will not be limited to bad weather.

“Many of the modern security systems on board the aircraft are considered unusable, causing a much bigger problem than we know … Aircraft manufacturers have told us that there are large parts of the operating fleet that need to land indefinitely.”

“Some Boeing 777s or all Boeing 777s will not be able to land at some major US airports after the launch of 5G service, as well as some Boeing cargo planes, airline officials told Reuters.

Airlines have been urged to take action to ensure that “until the FAA determines the use of 5G except when there are towers very close to the airport runways, it can be safely implemented without catastrophic interruptions”.

The FAA said on Sunday it had approved a 45% rating by the U.S. Commercial Air Force to make low-visibility landings at many airports using the 5G C-band, and is expected to grant additional clearances before Wednesday. Airlines said Monday that several major airports were not included in the list.

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Report by David Shepherdson; Editing Baby Nomiyama, Bill Bergrod and Jerry Doyle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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