Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Why 5G rollout is causing Air India, Emirates and other airlines to cancel flights to the US

Air India on Wednesday suspended four of its flights scheduled to the US after telecom companies AT&T and Verizon rolled out 5G services in the country.

Air India isn’t the only international airline that has cancelled flights to the US after the 5G rollout.

Let’s find out what’s the issue with the 5G rollout and what has led international airlines to cancel their flights, here is everything you need to know:

According to The Verge, airlines have cancelled some flights to the US due to the rollout of C-band 5G. It is believed that 5G could potentially interfere with some instruments on airplanes.

According to the report by The Verge, the 5G spectrum in question is known as C-band, and it is feared that these airwaves could interfere with sensitive radar altimeters on certain aircraft.

Altimeters are crucial instruments throughout the flight and especially during landing in scenarios when visibility is limited. An example of failures in this system were linked to a fatal 2009 Turkish Airlines crash, which resulted in nine casualties and 120 injuries.

On 17 January, airline companies including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines warned that the new 5G spectrum rollout on Wednesday could cause “catastrophic disruption” for flights across the country.

According to Reuters, the warning, which was also signed by some shipping companies including UPS Airlines and FedEx Express, said that both cargo and commercial flights may get affected.

Responding to the letter from the airlines, AT&T and Verizon announced that for now they will refrain from activating 5G towers around airports.

In an agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), both the carriers have decided to create a 5G buffer zone around airports that are selected on the basis of location, traffic volume, and the likelihood of low visibility.

As per the Wall Street Journal, airports like Chicago O’Hare, Orlando International, Los Angeles International, and Dallas/Fort Worth International are included on the list, as well as airports in locations that are often impacted by foggy conditions like Seattle/Tacoma International and San Francisco International.

The FAA has noted that the two telecom majors have agreed to turn off their 5G transmitters at these specific buffer zones for six months, which should “minimize potential 5G interference with sensitive aircraft instruments used in low-visibility landings.”

19/01/22 First Post

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