A business group representing major U.S. airlines on Thursday, Dec. 30, sent a request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to halt the deployment of 5G wireless service at many airports, warning that thousands of flights could be affected and even disrupted.
AT&T and Verizon Communications are scheduled to deploy the 5G wireless 5G C-band spectrum service. They acquired the permits in an $80 billion open bid by the government on Jan. 5.
The request sent by the Airlines for America group seeks to disrupt the deployment near numerous U.S. airports, including those in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Boston, and Seattle, Reuters reported.
For its part, the aviation industry and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are seeking to disrupt the deployment near numerous U.S. airports, reported Reuters. (FAA), also expressed concerns, stating that the controversial communication technology could interfere with sensitive aircraft electronics, such as radio altimeters, leading to aircraft deviations and possible disorientation.
“Aircraft will not be able to rely on radio altimeters for numerous flight procedures and thus will not be able to land at certain airports,” the group said in its emergency petition to the FCC.
The petition seeks a decision from the FCC by noon next Monday, failing which the group warned it will “seek judicial or other relief” to avoid “immediate and unacceptable safety risks.”
To size up how serious the imposition of this type of signal can be, Airlines for America has said that if the FAA 5G directive had been in place in 2019, around 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 cargo flights would have suffered delays, diversions, or cancellations directly affecting at least 32 million passengers.
The world’s two leading aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus, asked the U.S. government to delay the launch of new telephone services under 5G technology, citing considerable security risks.
“Interference from 5G could adversely affect the ability of aircraft to operate safely,” Boeing and Airbus Americas chiefs Dave Calhoun and Jeffrey Knittel said in a joint letter to the U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The launch of the 5G network was initially scheduled for November. Still, after an intense back-and-forth between airlines, phone operators, and government agencies, it was decided in principle to postpone it to Jan. 5.
So far, there is no official information to indicate whether the petitions achieved their goal of a new suspension or whether the controversial 5G network will start operating on Jan. 5.