US Airline CEO Warns: The Rollout of 5G will cause ‘catastrophic’ Disruption

US Airline CEO Warns: The Rollout of 5G will cause 'catastrophic' Disruption
Photo by Soumya Ranjan from Pexels

The launch of a new 5G service this week is expected to cause “catastrophic” disruption in the aviation business, according to airline executives.


The CEOs of major carriers warned that the launch might block flights and leave “tens of thousands of Americans” stranded overseas in a letter issued Monday to US transportation and economic officials.


The warning was issued only days before AT&T and Verizon announced the launch of their new C-Band 5G service on Wednesday. It also comes as airlines deal with the repercussions from massive flight cancellations caused by the omicron version of Covid-19’s spread and a series of winter storms that wreaked havoc on travel across the United States.


Airlines have warned that 5G signals could interfere with safety devices that pilots use to take off and land in bad weather.


“Unless our key hubs are authorized to fly, the vast majority of the flying and shipping public will be effectively grounded,” they wrote in a letter signed by the CEOs of American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and Jet Blue, as well as UPS and FedEx executives.


The letter stated, “Immediate intervention is required to avoid substantial operational interruption to aviation passengers, shippers, supply chain, and delivery of vital medical supplies.”


It went on to say that without clearance, “the nation’s business will grind to a standstill.”


National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Federal Aviation Administrator Stephen Dickson, and Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel were also addressed in the letter.


Later Tuesday, AT&T announced that it had agreed to “temporarily defer turning on a limited number of towers around certain airport runways as we continue to work with the aviation industry and the FAA to provide additional information about our 5G deployment since they have not utilized the two years they’ve had to responsibly plan for this deployment,” as it “continues to work with the aviation industry and the FAA to provide further information about our 5G deployment since they have not utilized the two years they’ve had


“We are frustrated by the FAA’s failure to achieve what nearly 40 countries have done,” an AT&T representative said in an emailed statement, “which is to properly deploy 5G technology without affecting aviation services.” “With the temporary exception of this small number of towers, we are launching our sophisticated 5G services everywhere else as anticipated.”


Fifth-generation wireless technology, or 5G, promises ultra-fast internet speeds, more bandwidth, and improved connectivity, with telecommunications companies all over the world racing to implement it.


Both AT&T and Verizon have previously stated that 5G networks are safe and interference-free in nearly 40 nations and that they will do so in the United States. On Monday, they declined to comment further.


The issue is that the signals used by radio altimeters, measuring tools that help pilots measure the distance from the ground to the bottom of an airplane during limited visibility operations, may interfere with the airwave spectrum used by 5G technology.


To lessen the likelihood of interference, both businesses have agreed to establish buffer zones around at least 50 airports. The new 5G service will be available on Wednesday, following a two-week delay sought by the Department of Transportation in response to concerns from aviation leaders.


In early January, AT&T and Verizon first refused the government’s request, but then changed their minds and agreed to the two-week wait.


Buttigieg said at the time that the FAA’s conversations with big airlines and telecom companies were “healthy.”


The service would be available “anywhere in the country except within approximately 2 miles of airport runways at affected airports,” according to airline executives.

“This will allow 5G to be deployed while avoiding negative consequences for the aviation industry, the general public, the supply chain, vaccine distribution, our workforce, and the broader economy,” says report “They went on to say that the 5G rollout could have an impact on the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines.


The FAA has announced that it will prevent pilots from using altimeters during landing at more than 80 airports near 5G stations when the 5G service goes online on Wednesday. Dallas, New York, Chicago, and Seattle are among the airports that are expected to be impacted.


“As wireless carriers deploy 5G,” the FAA added, it will “continue to ensure the safety of the traveling public.”


The FAA said in a statement that it is “continuing to engage with the aviation sector and cellular companies to try to prevent 5G-related aircraft delays and cancellations.”


It claimed on Sunday that as of Wednesday, an estimated 45 percent of the US commercial fleet has been certified to “conduct low-visibility landings at several of the airports where 5G C-band will be deployed.”


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United Airlines, on the other hand, warned in a statement to NBC News that the federal government’s current 5G deployment plan will “have a devastating impact on aviation.”


According to United, the following turmoil might have a negative impact on up to 1.25 million people.


Airlines urged the US government to develop laws to ensure that 5G technology could be deployed safely, according to the report.


“We will not, under any circumstances, compromise on safety. However, governments in other nations have effectively created laws to assure the safe deployment of 5G technology, and all we ask is that the US government follow suit,” According to the airline.


“We ask the Biden administration to move fast and implement the same common sense ideas that have clearly worked so well elsewhere,” the statement stated.


Similar concerns were expressed by American Airlines COO David Seymour, who warned employees on Tuesday to expect “significant operational disruptions” as a result of the “extraordinary challenge” of the 5G rollout.


“We expect substantial operational interruptions for American, as well as other U.S. airlines and many international carriers providing service to U.S. locations, as this new 5G technology operates on frequencies close to those utilized by radio altimeters on aircraft,” Seymour wrote to staff.


“We expect delays, diversions, and cancellations that are completely beyond our control until a long-term technical solution is devised and implemented, and as long as 5G is deployed.”


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