BOEING and Airbus executives have issued a warning that the launch of new 5G could make planes unsafe and urged Joe Biden to delay deploying the service.
In a joint letter to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the CEOs of both companies urged him to support postponing AT&T and Verizon’s planned deployment of C-Band spectrum 5G wireless on January 5.
Officials have warned that the new service could lead to widespread flight delays in snowstorms and issues with landings in poor visibility.
The warning notes that the new signals could interfere with equipment on planes and helicopters that track aircraft altitude, which could disrupt landings in poor visibility and lead to more delays, diversions, and cancelations.
The new 5G signals will work in airwaves nearby those used by radar altimeters, which determine altitude by bouncing radio waves off the ground, according to Bloomberg.
Aviation officials have claimed that the 5G can interfere with altimeters, which can create hazards, particularly during landings with problematic weather.
Verizon and AT&T have disputed the officials’ allegations and claim the new 5G will be perfectly safe.
At a government advisory panel held on December 10, former airline official Jeffrey Shane said that the new 5G will put additional stress on the already struggling airline industry.
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“What that means, ladies and gentlemen, is nothing less than a lot of flights are going to be canceled,” Shane said.
Air safety regulators have been looking into cell tower and aircraft data to determine where the new 5G signals could potentially cause problems, according to the Wall Street Journal.
With so many unknowns, George Paul, VP for technical services at the National Air Carrier Association told the outlet that airlines are trying to predict what the new service rollout could mean for operations.
“It’s like a bad hurricane—you don’t know where it’s going to hit until it actually gets a little closer,” Paul said.
Any flight limits or disruptions could interfere with the airline industry’s attempt to bounce back from major losses incurred due to the Covid pandemic.
Boeing and Airbus did not immediately respond to The Sun’s request for comment on the issue.
The Department of Transportation also did not immediately respond to comment about the 5G warning.