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5G Deployment: Experts negate airlines’ concern over likely flight disruptions

Photo: ASD Reports

*Aviation trade group claims the 5G services-related conflict could cost about $2.1billion in flight disruptions

*5G technology operates safely and without causing harmful interference to aviation operations in nearly 40 countries around the world  ─US wireless industry group CTIA

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Officials of some global airlines are waving the caution flag on Fifth Generation (5G) technology services, as they express concern that when the wireless services get updated January 2022, the networks could create extensive flight delays in situations like snowstorms and low visibility in the aviation industry.

ConsumerConnect gathered the aviation industry officials have hinted that the new wireless signals could hamper the effectiveness of equipment on airplanes and helicopters used to track aircraft altitude.

US telecoms giants AT&T and Verizon are due to deploy fresh 5G services January 5, 2021.

Subsequently, with an imminent January 5 launch day, the White House, industry groups, and aviation sector regulators are “rushing to come to some form of agreement,” agency report said.

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In a way to help out, AT&T and Verizon have offered power reductions in their new 5G services, but the aviation industry says those cuts are “inadequate”.

5G conflict could cost $2.1billion in flight disruptions: Aviation group

In view of this development, aviation trade group Airlines for America has said that the 5G conflict could cost as much as $2.1billion in flight disruptions.

Southwest Airlines’ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gary Kelly said in testimony given at a US Senate hearing earlier December 2021: “If you were to ask us what our number one concern is in the near term, it is the deployment of 5G.”

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Nevertheless, Meredith Attwell Baker, CTIA Chief Executive, in a blog post November said: “A delay will cause real harm.

“Pushing back deployment one year would subtract $50billion in economic growth, just as our nation (US) recovers and rebuilds from the pandemic.”

Aviation officials’ fears unfounded?

As several airline officials continue to worry about this issue, some people in the wireless industry yet have stated that the aviators’ fears about 5G are completely unfounded.

Nick Ludlum, Senior Vice-President at trade group CTIA, which includes AT&T and Verizon as members, told Bloomberg that “the aviation industry’s fear-mongering relies on completely discredited information and deliberate distortions of fact.

“5G operates safely and without causing harmful interference to aviation operations in nearly 40 countries around the world.

“US airlines fly in and out of these countries every day.”

READ ALSO: 5G Networks Safe, Beneficial For Socio-Economic Transformation ─NCC

It was also learnt the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which was concerned about interference from the 5G wireless spectrum earlier, now believes “the expansion of 5G and aviation can safely co-exist.”

The US aviation regulator said in a statement: “Today, we took an important step toward that goal by issuing two airworthiness directives to provide a framework and to gather more information to avoid potential effects on aviation safety equipment.

“The FAA is working closely with the Federal Communications Commission and wireless companies, and has made progress toward safely implementing the 5G expansion.”

The statement added: “We are confident with ongoing collaboration, we will reach this shared goal.”

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Besides, the CTIA has said 5G is safe, and accused the aviation industry stakeholders of fearmongering and distorting facts.

Boeing, Airbus urge delay in rolling out expanded 5G services

Earlier, the world’s two biggest plane makers in a joint letter had called on the US Government to delay the rollout of new 5G phone services in the country.

The top executives at Boeing and Airbus warned that the technology could have “an enormous negative impact on the aviation industry,” BBC report said.

They were said to have concerns that C-Band spectrum 5G wireless could interfere with aircraft electronics.

“5G interference could adversely affect the ability of aircraft to safely operate,” said the bosses of Boeing and Airbus Americas, Dave Calhoun and Jeffrey Knittel, in a joint letter to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

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Their letter cited research by trade group Airlines for America, which found that if the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 5G rules had been in effect in 2019, about 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 cargo flights would have faced delays, diversions or cancellations.

Airbus in a statement also said: “Airbus and Boeing have been working with other aviation industry stakeholders in the US to understand potential 5G interference with radio altimeters.

“An Aviation Safety Proposal to mitigate potential risks has been submitted for consideration to the US Department of Transportation.”

It is recalled that AT&T and Verizon, November 2021, delayed the commercial launch of C-band wireless service by a month January 5 next year, and adopted precautionary measures to limit interference.

However, the aviation industry groups have said the measures did not go far enough, with Boeing and Airbus, saying they made a counterproposal that would limit cellular transmissions around airports and other critical areas.

United Airlines Chief Executive Scott Kirby also stated that the FAA’s 5G directives would bar the use of radio altitude meters at about 40 of America’s biggest airports.

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