On Wednesday, representatives from the leading US airlines urged the Biden administration for “immediate intervention” in the scheduled launch of 5G technology near major airports, in the wake of dreadful fallouts for transportation as well as the economy.
The executives of 10 carriers have called for the administration in a letter gathered by CNN to postpone further the launch near airports where Federal Aviation Administration flight prohibitions will be applicable once the technology starts up.
The aviation world is worried that 5G signals will intervene with aviation technology along with the radar altimeter onboard planes.
The executives wrote “The ripple effects across both passenger and cargo operations, our workforce and the broader economy are simply incalculable,” adding further “To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt.”
The letter was first reported by Reuters.
Initially, the 5G Launch Was Delayed Until January
The letter states that discussions between the airlines and the telecommunications industry are undergoing. Carriers Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), which owns CNN’s parent company, first postponed the 5G launch till January, and later gave consent to a more restricted airport-driven postponement that lapses this week.
It was written in a letter that “Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and the shipping public will essentially be grounded. This means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions or delays.”
The letter was meant for the White House, Transportation Department, Federal Communications Commission, and FAA.
Those who signed in the letter consist of members of Airlines for America: executives with Alaska Airlines, American Airlines (AAL), Atlas Air (AAWW), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways (JBLU), Southwest Airlines (LUV), United Airlines, and the airline operations at FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS).
On Monday evening, United Airlines cautioned of “a devastating impact on aviation” if 5G is kicked off near airports.
In a statement, United said “When deployed next to runways, the 5G signals could interfere with the key safety equipment that pilots rely on to take off and land in inclement weather,” continued further cautioning that concerns related to safety could result in “significant restrictions” over aircraft being capable of operating at airports, along with those in Houston, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.
In a statement on Monday evening, The FAA said that it “will continue to ensure that the traveling public is safe as wireless companies deploy 5G.”
It added, “The FAA continues to work with the aviation industry and wireless companies to try to limit 5G-related flight delays and cancellations.”
Some Commercial Planes Cleared
Several restrictions are letting up by Federal officials on commercial airliners ready to be effective from this week once new 5G technology kicks in.
The FAA stated that it has cleared for utilization of two radar altimeters utilized in some Boeing (BA) and Airbus jets, an action that it calls will enable several US commercial aircraft to ensure low-visibility landings at certain airports.
Days before the Wednesday activation, the FAA calls it has withdrawn limitations on nearly 45% of the US commercial aircraft fleet and that nearly 48 of 88 affected runways will be qualified for low-visibility landings. The approvals include Boeing’s 737, 747, 757, 767, MD-10, and MD-11 and the Airbus A310, A319, A320, A321, A330, and A350.
In a statement, the FAA said “Even with these new approvals, flights at some airports may still be affected,” adding “The FAA also continues to work with manufacturers to understand how radar altimeter data is used in other flight control systems.”