The bosses of ten US airlines warned US authorities on Monday of the potential “chaos” of Wednesday's as-planned rollout of superfast 5G mobile internet technology around airports, in a letter obtained.
“Immediate response is required to prevent significant operational disruption to passengers, carriers, supply chains and the delivery of critical medical supplies,” they write two days before 5G's scheduled entry into service.
Aviation industry players in the United States are concerned about the consequences of 5G on aircraft due to possible disruptions to on-board instruments.
“On a day like yesterday (Sunday), more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subject to cancellations, detours, or delays”, fear in particular the bosses of the companies American Airlines, Delta, or even Southwest, but also those of the airline divisions of logistics giants FedEx and UPS. “To be frank, the nation’s commerce will come to a dead halt,” they declared.
“Given the short time remaining and the significance of this completely preventable economic calamity, we respectfully request that you support and take all necessary actions to have 5G deployed except when towers are too close to airport tarmacs” , they are asking the US government, the aviation security agency, the FAA, and the telecom policeman, the FCC.
They therefore want a pause, “until the FAA can determine how this deployment can be accomplished safely without catastrophic disruption.”
The FAA released a brief statement on Monday, apparently seeking to allay those concerns, but did not announce concrete action.
“With safety as its primary mission, the FAA will continue to ensure that travelers are safe. security as mobile companies roll out 5G,” the agency said. “The FAA continues to work with the aviation industry and mobile carriers to try to limit 5G-related flight delays and cancellations.”
The FAA said on Sunday it had approved the use of certain repeaters safely in areas where 5G will be deployed, clearing “up to 48 of the 88 airports most directly impacted by 5G C-band interference.”
At the beginning of January the airlines had obtained a new deadline, until Wednesday, for the deployment of the new frequency bands.
They threatened, via their federation Airlines 4 America, to sue the telecommunications giants AT&T and Verizon in order to obtain this delay and technical modifications in the deployment of the latest generation of ultra-fast mobile Internet.
3.7-3.8 GHz frequency bands were awarded to AT&T and Verizon in February 2021 following a tens of billions of dollars tender.
Faced with concerns about potential interference issues with altitude-measuring devices on airplanes, the FAA had issued new guidelines limiting the use of these on-board devices in certain situations.
< p>But American airlines protested against the potential costs incurred, and called on the authorities to quickly find a solution.
In December, European aircraft manufacturers Airbus and American Boeing also expressed their ” concern” about possible per turbations on their aircraft's on-board instruments by 5G, in a letter to the US Department of Transportation.