Executives from U.S. airlines and cargo carriers have expressed their concerns about the coming 5G wireless service, warning that it could leave thousands of travelers stranded and cause other havoc.
The faster, brawnier 5G network is set to deploy from Wed. Jan. 19.
In a letter sent to the Biden administration, chief executive officers from multiple carriers, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, FedEx, Jetblue, Southwest, United Airlines and others, wrote that “immediate action to address 5G interference with (the) National Aviation System” was needed, Fox Business reported.
The CEOs explained that C-band 5G could interfere with radio altimeters, which provide “critical safety information” to safety and navigation systems on planes. This problem causes disruptions to airplanes’ instruments that could make “huge swaths” of the fleet unusable.
Noting that most of the large airports will be under 5G-related flight restrictions from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by Wednesday’s deadline, the airline’s leaders said that 5G should be only deployed in areas where the tower is not too close to the airport runway.
“We are writing with urgency to request that 5G be implemented everywhere in the country except within the approximate 2 miles of airport runways at affected airports as defined by the FAA on Jan. 19, 2022,” they wrote.
“This will allow 5G to be deployed while avoiding harmful impacts on the aviation industry, traveling public, supply chain, vaccine distribution, our workforce and broader economy,” they added.
“We further ask that the FAA immediately identify those base stations closest to key airport runways that need to be addressed to ensure safety and avoid disruption in a manner that is narrowly focused and consistent with the agreement established on Jan. 3, 2022,” the letter continued.
The letter addressed to the National Economic Council, the Transportation Department, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Aviation Administration noted that there could be significant disruption to both commercial air travelers and the shipping industry if they do not take immediate action.
The executives warned that 5G, if implemented immediately, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers could be subjected to cancellations, diversions, or delays.