New 5G service may trigger 'catastrophic’ aviation crisis, warn major US airline CEOs

WION Web Team
Washington Updated: Jan 18, 2022, 09:44 AM(IST)

An aviation crisis may unfold in less than 36 hours due to the deployment of new 5G service (representative image). Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The new C-Band 5G service, which is set to begin on Wednesday, could render a large number of widebody aircraft unusable, "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas" and lead to "chaos" for US flights, warned the airlines. The potential interference could affect sensitive airplane instruments, such as altimeters and hamper low-visibility operations, warned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  

 

A "catastrophic" aviation crisis may unfold in less than 36 hours due to the deployment of new 5G service, warned the chief executives of major US passenger and cargo carriers on Monday.   

This comes at a time when AT&T and Verizon look to begin the new service.  

The new C-Band 5G service, which is set to begin on Wednesday, could render a large number of widebody aircraft unusable, "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas" and lead to "chaos" for US flights, warned the airlines.  

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In a letter, the chief executives of Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and others, wrote, "Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the travelling and shipping public will essentially be grounded."  

The potential interference could affect sensitive airplane instruments, such as altimeters and hamper low-visibility operations, warned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  

"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," the letter cautioned.  

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The airlines are also looking to begin canceling some international flights, which are scheduled to arrive in the US on Wednesday.  

In the letter, the airlines added that action is urgently needed. It has also been signed by Alaska Air, Atlas Air, JetBlue Airways, UPS Airlines and FedEx Express.   

The letter has been sent to White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.   

(With inputs from agencies) 

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