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18 Jan 2022

US Airlines Warn of ‘Catastrophic Disruption’ due to 5G Activation

The Index Today

CEOs from major US airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines have warned that the impending deployment of new 5G spectrum on Wednesday could cause “catastrophic disruption” for flights across the country starting tomorrow. The warning, which was also signed by shipping companies including UPS Airlines and FedEx Express, was issued in a letter from the CEOs seen by Reuters, which said that both commercial and cargo flights could be affected.

The mentioned letter was sent to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, and White House National Economic Council director Brian Deese.

The 5G spectrum in question is known as C-band, and AT&T and Verizon’s deployments are due to go live on Wednesday, January 19th after suffering multiple previous delays. Altimeters are critical for landings especially when visibility is limited, and failures in this system were linked to a fatal 2009 Turkish Airlines crash.

As a result of the new 5G deployments, the airlines wrote in their letter that “Airplane manufacturers have informed us that there are huge swaths of the operating fleet that may need to be indefinitely grounded.” “Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies,” that could cause “chaos” and strand “tens of thousands of Americans overseas.”

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