Travelling has been a hassle ever since the pandemic hit. Airline carriers believe new 5G technology will only make it worse.
Chief executives of major airlines wrote a letter to Biden administration members detailing their concerns about the new C-Band 5G service that is set to begin on January 19. The C-Band technology was won in an $80 billion auction between AT&T and Verizon, last year. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), along with airline carriers, is concerned that 5G cellular antennas near some airports could throw off readings from some aircraft equipment designed to tell pilots how far they are from the ground. That equipment, known as radar altimeters, are used throughout every single flight. The towers have a chance to even disrupt low-visibility operations.
This DOES NOT mean that travelers’ personal mobile phones on a flight is the grand issue. It is still absolutely ideal that passengers place their phones in their default airplane modes during flights.
Reuters first reported the news that the letter went to White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.
The airline group who penned the letter call themselves Airlines for America. The group consists of airlines like American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. They even had signatures of executives from FedEx and UPS. The airline group stated, “Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded. This means that on a day like yesterday (Jan. 16), more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions or delays.”
United Airlines sees the implementation could affect more than 15,000 of its flights, 1.25 million passengers and snarl tons of cargo annually. Other airlines have the same concerns, of course.
AT&T and Verizon have argued that C-Band 5G has been successfully deployed in about 40 other countries without aviation interference issues. AT&T and Verizon made a deal with the FAA, FCC, and airline carriers last year that they would delay the implementation of their newly acquired C-Band technology. It was supposed to be rolled out on December 5, 2021. Now that January is here and that deal is set to expire, they are looking to capitalize on their agreement.
The FAA says it has cleared restrictions on about 45% of the US commercial aircraft fleet. Which turns 48 of 88 impacted runways are eligible for low-visibility landings. The approvals include Boeing’s 737, 747, 757, 767, MD-10 and MD-11 and the Airbus A310, A319, A320, A321, A330 and A350.
All parties involved in the matter are still negotiating a solution to the economical and safety problems that may exist within the upcoming developments of air-travel.