In particular, airlines and manufacturers are concerned that the new 5G signals could interfere with aircraft radio altimeters, which measure the distance between the aircraft and the ground, as well as data systems that help planes land.
Major US airlines asked the US government that blocks the transmission of 5G signals in a radius of 3.2 kilometers (2 miles) around airport runways, two days before that technology is activated.
Airlines for America, which represents the main passenger and cargo carriers, warned that, if that does not happen, the launch this Wednesday, January 19, of the new 5G frequency bands in the United States will have “catastrophic” consequences for commercial airline operations from the country.
“The domino effect on both passenger and cargo operations, on our staff and on the economy in general is simply incalculable,” the association said in a letter sent to various representatives of the federal government.
“To be frank, the nation’s commerce will stagnate.”, he added.
The companies have warned that new frequency bands from 3.7 to 3.8 gigahertz (GHz), the so-called C-band spectrum, which will give networks greater geographical reach and faster signals, may cause many security systems of the planes turn “unusable”.
Specifically, airlines and aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus and American Boeing they are concerned that new 5G signals could interfere with aircraft radio altimeters, which measure the distance between the aircraft and the ground, as well as the data systems that help planes land.
To address those concerns, telecommunications companies AT&T and Verizon agreed this month to delay the launch of new 5G frequency bands for two weeks, until this Wednesday, January 19.
The agreement of the US Department of Transportation with these companies contemplates the creation in up to 50 airports of areas where the interference of 5G signals will be mitigated for six months, but the airlines assured in their letter that this it will not prevent “flight restrictions”.
The companies, including American Airlines, United, Delta, JetBlue y Southwest, complained that the list of airports does not include the ones with the most traffic in the country, which can cause “the vast majority of passengers and cargo” to stay on the ground.
“On a day like yesterday (in which there was a snowstorm in the east of the country), more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be affected by cancellations, diversions or delays”, they alerted.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA, for its acronym in English) announced this Sunday that it estimates that a dozen types of aircraft, representing 45% of the United States fleet, will be able to land when visibility conditions are poor once 5G signals are activated.
The agency plans to approve other types of aircraft in the coming days and estimates that this will allow 48 of the 88 airports most affected by the interference of the new 5G bands to operate, but acknowledged that Even so, there may be alterations in the country’s flights.
The airlines’ letter, joined by logistics companies such as FedEx and UPS, states that, despite these FAA measures, “there are huge portions of the operating fleet that they might have to be grounded indefinitely.”
“In addition to the chaos that will cause domestically, this lack of usable wide-body aircraft has the potential to strand tens of thousands of Americans abroad,” the letter alleges.