*US Airlines have warned that the rollout of 5G at airports could cause a global “catastrophic” disruption in service.
As reported by NBC News, the CEOs of major carriers warned that the launch could strand “tens of thousands of Americans” overseas and cause chaos for domestic flights.
“Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded,” wrote the chief executives of American Airlines (AAL.O), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), United Airlines , Southwest Airlines (LUV.N) and others in a letter reported by Reuters.
Verizon is set for a 5G launch Wednesday, which will “enable more than 90 million Americans to experience the transformative speed,” the company said.
“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and our nation’s airlines have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports, despite it being safe and fully operational in more than 40 other countries,” Verizon said Tuesday in a statement. The company intends to limit 5G service around some airports.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned that potential 5G interference could affect sensitive airplane instruments and hamper low-visibility operations.
“With the proposed restrictions at selected airports, the transportation industry is preparing for some service disruption. We are optimistic that we can work across industries and with government to finalize solutions that safely mitigate as many schedule impacts as possible,” planemaker Boeing said on Monday.
According to the report, AT&T 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 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 frustrated by the FAA’s inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it do so in a timely manner,” an AT&T spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We are launching our advanced 5G services everywhere else as planned with the temporary exception of this limited number of towers.”
Per Reuters, United said it faces “significant restrictions on 787s, 777s, 737s and regional aircraft in major cities like Houston, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.”
The airlines ask “that 5G be implemented everywhere in the country except within the approximate 2 miles (3.2 km) of airport runways” at some key airports.
“Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies,” they said.
“Next-generation 5G technologies will be the backbone of our economic future,” Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement Tuesday. “Today’s agreement makes it possible to bring this technology to millions more consumers and businesses throughout the country starting tomorrow using the C-band. This is welcome news because we know that deployment can safely co-exist with aviation technologies in the United States, just as it does in other countries around the world. The FAA has a process in place to assess altimeter performance in the 5G environment and resolve any remaining concerns. It is essential that the FAA now complete this process with both care and speed.”
It remains unclear which areas or airports will be affected.