United States: Airlines are alarmed by the deployment of 5G – Sciences et Avenir

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Executives at major U.S. passenger and cargo airlines warned on Monday of a looming “catastrophic” airline crisis as AT&T and Verizon prepare to launch their new 5G services on Wednesday.

Airlines have warned that the new 5G C-band service could render inoperable a significant number of large aircraft, “tens of thousands of Americans abroad” and cause “chaos” on domestic flights.

“Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of travelers and passengers will be essentially grounded,” executives from American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and others wrote in a letter originally reported by Reuters. .

The Federal Aeronautics Administration (FAA) warned that the potential risks of interference could affect certain sensitive instruments such as altimeters and significantly hinder operations in low visibility conditions.

“This means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers could be subject to cancellation, diversion or delay,” the letter said.

Airlines were wondering Monday night if they needed to start canceling some international flights due to arrive in the United States on Wednesday.

“With the proposed restrictions at some airports, the transportation industry is bracing for some degree of service disruption. We are optimistic that we can work with the industries and the government to finalize solutions that will mitigate the impacts as much as possible and safely on time.” aircraft manufacturer Boeing said on Monday. Urgent action is needed, the airlines added in the letter also signed by UPS Airlines, Alaska Air, Atlas Air, JetBlue Airways and FedEx Express.

“To be frank, the nation’s trade will come to a standstill,” the signatories warned. The letter was sent to White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel. .

Airlines for America, the association behind the letter, declined to comment. The FAA said it “will continue to ensure the traveling public is safe as wireless carriers roll out 5G.”

Other government agencies did not comment.

AT&T and Verizon, which have won nearly all of the C-band spectrum in the United States, agreed in early January to create buffer zones around 50 airports to reduce the risk of interference and take other steps to reduce potential interference for six months.

The two telecom operators have also agreed to delay the launch of their 5G services by two weeks, until Wednesday, after previously delaying the launch by a month.

Verizon and AT&T, which declined to comment Monday, say C-band 5G has been successfully rolled out in 40 other countries with no aviation interference issues.

(David Shepardson Report, French version Augustin Turpin, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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