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US airlines warn 5G could cause major delays and 'chaos' due to interference

By Roland Udvarlaki January 18, 2022, 7:00 am
American Airlines plane Source: Unsplash, Jan Rosolino

Chief executives of several major American airlines have warned that the impending deployment of the new 5G spectrum on Wednesday (January 19) could cause major delays and a “catastrophic disruption”. Airlines such as UPS Airlines, Alaska Air, Atlas Air, JetBlue Airways, and FedEx Express have pressed their concern.

Major airlines warned that the new C-Band 5G that is expected to come into service on Wednesday could make many existing aircrafts unusable and unsafe to travel with. In a letter obtained by Reuters, many US airline executives warn that the C-Band 5G could cause “chaos” for domestic and even international flights, and many US citizens could get stranded overseas.


“Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded […] This means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions, or delays […] Multiple modern safety systems on aircraft will be deemed unusable causing a much larger problem than what we knew... Airplane manufacturers have informed us that there are huge swaths of the operating fleet that may need to be indefinitely grounded." – said the letter from Airline executives.

The former letter was addressed to key figures and departments such as the White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

Airlines are asking “that 5G be implemented everywhere in the country except within the approximate 2 miles (3.2km) of airport runways” at key international and busy hubs. The report also mentions that Boeing 777s (as well as other Boeing cargo planes) are a subject of concern, as they don’t know whether these planes could land at some US airports due to 5G interference.


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