5G concerns: Air India cancels flights to US due to 5G rollout

Several airlines say they will cancel the flights starting January 19th due to the C-band 5G rollout in the US.

Highlights
  • Emirates, Air India, ANA, and Japan Airlines have cancelled some fights in the US due to C-band 5G rollout.
  • The airlines say they will work closely with aircraft manufacturers and relevant authorities. 
  • The C-band 5G could interfere with radar altimeters installed in some plans.

Emirates, Air India, ANA, and Japan Airlines have cancelled some flights starting January 19th in the US due to the C-band 5G rollout that may interfere with some aircraft components. The situation arises as cell carriers, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers couldn’t agree on an ideal way to roll out the 5G, as per a report by The Verge. Following this development, AT&T and Verizon agreed to delay activating 5G networks near US airports.

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Airline operators warned the US that 5G deployment near the airport runway could cause a ‘catastrophic disruption’ to flight schedules. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has stated that the C-band 5G could interfere with the radio wave radar altimeter installed on some aircraft, which concerns safety issues of the aircraft. The radar altimeter needs to be accurate and reliable, FAA added.

Emirates has cancelled flights to some US regions, including Boston, San Francisco, Houston, Newark, Dallas-Fort Worth, Seattle, Chicago, and Orlando. The airline announced, “It’s suspending flights to the following US destinations from January 19th, 2022 until further notice.” It will continue to fly to New York JFK, Los Angeles (LAX), and Washington, DC (IAD). “We will work closely with aircraft manufacturers and relevant authorities and will soon start flying to the US again,” the airline stated. 

ANA also stated guidelines for Boeing (an aerospace company) that says, “Boeing has announced flight restrictions on all airlines operating the Boeing 777 aircraft.” Additionally, Japan Airlines also stated, “the 5G signals for US mobile phones, which will begin operating in the US on January 19th, 2022, may interfere with the radio wave altimeter installed on the Boeing 777.”


AT&T and Verizon pause 5G rollout

AT&T and Verizon have voluntarily and temporally paused the 5G rollout near certain airports. An AT&T spokesperson says, “they will work closely with aircraft manufactures and FAA to provide further information about our 5G deployment since they have not utilized the two years they’ve had to responsibly plan for this deployment.”

“We are launching our advanced 5G services everywhere else as planned with the temporary exception of this limited number of towers,” the spokesperson added. 

Verizon’s spokesperson said, “the company has voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports.” The person also said more than 90 per cent of the Americans would receive 5G service. “The Federal Aviation Administration and our nation’s airlines have not been able to fully resolve to navigate 5G around airports, despite it being safe and fully operational in more than 40 other countries,” the spokesperson added.

Additionally, the spokesperson of the FAA also issued a statement stating, “It is essential that the FAA now complete this process with both care and speed.”