Boeing & Airbus sound alarm over 5G rollout — Analysis
Airplane makers Boeing and Airbus have renewed their warnings that 5G cell phone signals – supposed to be rolled out in earnest in early January – may threaten the ability of aircraft to operate safely in low visibility areas.
The CEOs of both plane manufacturers warned US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that attempting to use their planes’ radio altimeters – devices that allow pilots to land in low visibility and depend solely on radio signals to gauge altitude – would become dangerous if not impossible if the planned activation of 5G at over 40 of the country’s busiest airports was allowed to go forward as scheduled in January.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun & Airbus Americas CEO Jeffrey Knittel appealed to the Biden administration for a delay of the 5G rollout. “enormous negative impact on the aviation industry.”
Federal Aviation Administration previously informed airlines that interference with C-Band radio-site transmitters could lead to the ban of pilots using the instrument to determine altitude at airports. According to estimates, the restriction could lead to delays, cancellations or diversions of upto 4% US flights.
Not only could it cause inconvenience to passengers and pilots, but also could pose legal problems if the alternative site is in another country with different laws.
The Federal Communications Commission has argued that there is no real issue with the radio altimeters, and AT&T and Verizon, chief providers of 5G signals, have pledged to reduce or cap the strength of their networks. On Wednesday, the companies sent a joint letter to Jessica Rosenworcel at FCC chair. They announced that they were introducing a new 5G signal. “limits”for the first six months of the year “while additional evidence from radio altimeter manufacturers is evaluated.” The providers, however, appeared to have dismissed concerns that the issue might affect air travel, arguing that there was “no credible evidence that a legitimate interference problem exists.”
They claimed that 5G service would be maintained and that the companies had invested $80 billion to acquire 5G bandwidth. 5G was originally supposed to begin deployment in November. Other delays were minimal. “fearmongering,”They lament.
Amid fears of the 5G rollout, the airline industry is under more pressure. Already thousands of flights have been cancelled over Christmas due to concerns over Omicron’s arrival. Although the Omicron variant appears to have milder symptoms than previous versions, its spread has been much faster than Delta.
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