Ahead of the mega 5G rollout in the US, major airlines like Emirates, Air India, ANA, and Japan Airlines have announced to cancel some flights over concerns that it could potentially interfere with some instruments and may put flyers’ safety at risk.
Emirates said it’s “suspending flights to the following US destinations from 19 January 2022 until further notice,” listing Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco, and Seattle.
The airline will continue to fly to New York JFK, Los Angeles (LAX), and Washington, DC (IAD), reports The Verge.
Air India will also be unable to operate many US-bound flights.
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Airline operators in the US warned that the rollout could cause “catastrophic disruption” to their flight schedules.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the concern is that the C-band 5G signals could interfere with the radar altimeters used in some planes, creating a safety issue.
Boeing has announced flight restrictions on all airlines operating the Boeing 777 aircraft.
Japan Airlines also cites a notification from Boeing, saying that it was told that “5G signals for US mobile phones, which will begin operating in the US on January 19, 2022, may interfere with the radio wave altimeter installed on the Boeing 777.”
However, both AT&T and Verizon have announced that they would voluntarily delay 5G antenna upgrades near certain airports.
Verizon said that it will launch its 5G Ultra Wideband network on Wednesday, enabling more than 90 million Americans to experience the transformative speed, reliability, and power of this game-changing network on the go or in their homes or businesses.
“As the nation’s leading wireless provider, we have voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and our nation’s airlines have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports, despite it being safe and fully operational in more than 40 other countries,” Verizon said in a statement.
US President Biden has thanked the carriers “for agreeing to delay 5G deployment around key airports and to continue working with the Department of Transportation on safe 5G deployment at this limited set of locations”.