Major American air carriers have warned the use of C-Band spectrum for wireless 5-G services starting from January 5, 2022, will disrupt flight operations all over the United States.
Reportedly, it will cost air passengers over $1.6 billion in flight delays.
New 5G technology will disrupt flight operations in the USA
Scott Kirby, United Airlines Chief Executive, noted the 5G wireless services would disturb 4% of daily flights, which would be a catastrophic failure at the government’s end.
Kirby noted until something is changed, the airline would not be able to function properly at more than 40 airports across the country.
Likewise, Trade Group Airlines estimated if the same technology were in practice in 2019, more than 32 million passengers, 345,000 commercial flights, and 5,400 cargo flights would have faced cancellations and delays.
5G Networks are now interfering with airplanes and aircraft… welcome to disaster
— READY FOR WHATEVER (@HONEYXXBUN) December 21, 2021
On the other hand, the wireless industry moved forward to defend the technology. A wireless trade group CTIA noted the fear-mongering of the aviation industry is built on wrong information, as they are deliberately manipulating the facts.
The group noted this technology is currently being used in other countries as well.
However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) noted those countries have taken preventive steps in addressing the issues that arise due to this conflict, including adjusting power levels and antenna directions.
Responding to these concerns, AT&T and Verizon, two telecommunication giants, delayed their 5G plans to January by reducing power levels from cell towers on the condition they will monitor the change before bringing power levels back to original numbers.
Still, the FAA was cautious in its approach and warned air carriers not to rely on the radio altimeter technology, due to its possible interference with the 5G technology.
Authorities have to reach a solution for the coexistence of 5G technology with air operations
Currently, the situation remains at a standstill with less than two weeks to go before the launch of C-band 5G technology.
Meanwhile, FAA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are likely to issue new directives by weighing the proposals of the telecommunication industry and air carriers.
According to reports, the administration is thinking of establishing “buffer zones” around airports to minimize the impact of the rays in that specific area when planes are near the ground.
One of the biggest concerns of the airline industry in this regard is the usage of radio altimeters in low visibility landings, including conditions of fog, smog, and other unfavorable weather conditions.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Air Line Pilots Association Int’l (ALPA) issued a joining statement, urging stakeholders to find a solution as soon as possible.
Similarly, the statement mentioned the country is running out of time, as a little bit of negligence could result in flight delays and cancellations that would ultimately worsen the already existing supply chain crisis.
— KVUE News (@KVUE) December 21, 2021
Thus, the statement noted, FCC, NEC, FAA should continue discussing the matter in good faith to find a solution that could result in the co-existence of 5G technology with the aviation industry.