Thousands of flights disrupted worldwide amid US 5G rollout

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Thousands of flights disrupted worldwide amid US 5G rollout

 Thousands of flights disrupted worldwide amid US 5G rollout
Image source: lassedesignen,shutterstock

Highlights

  • Experts said the new 5G networks use a radio segment close to the one used by radio altimeters in an aircraft to measure a flight's altitude, which helps pilots land in low visibility.

  • The US Federal Communications Commission sets a buffer to separate the two frequencies.

  • Emirates President Tim Clark told CNN that it was an "utterly irresponsible" situation that demonstrated the government's failure.

Thousands of flights of major international airlines were disrupted after concerns that the new 5G mobile phone service could interfere with aircraft technology, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

An airline pilot described the disruption as a "nightmare". On Wednesday, carriers worldwide grappled with mixed reports concerning 5G's impact on some planes.

According to some airline officials cited by AP, the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing cautioned some carriers that Boeing’s 777 aircraft was particularly affected by the 5G service.

Some airlines, however, said they would use different planes to maintain their schedules. UAE’s national carrier Emirates, which uses the Boeing 777 in its fleet, said it reduced its US-bound flights.

On the other hand, Air France said it would fly to the US cities as usual.

But it was not immediately clear the extent of the disruption. This week, US mobile carriers AT&T and Verizon agreed to stop the rollout of their new high-speed wireless service near major airports.

Experts said the new 5G networks use a radio segment close to the one used by radio altimeters in an aircraft to measure a flight's altitude, which helps pilots land in low visibility.

The US Federal Communications Commission sets a buffer to separate the two frequencies. AP reported that the agency had concluded that the 5G network could be used safely near airports.

AT&T and Verizon also have said that their equipment won’t interfere with aircraft signals. But they had to pause the 5G rollout after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) raised concerns.

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Thousands of flights disrupted worldwide after US 5G rollout

Source: Pixabay

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How are airlines dealing with the situation?

Emirates said it would halt flights to several US cities due to 5G services at airports. The airline added that it would continue flights to Los Angeles, New York, and Washington.

Emirates President Tim Clark told CNN it was an "utterly irresponsible" situation that demonstrated the government's failure. Emirates only flies the Boeing 777 model and Airbus A380 jumbo jet.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA), which also operates the Boeing 777 aircraft, said the FAA has indicated that the 5G radio waves could interfere with aircraft altimeters.

It added that it has cancelled or changed aircraft for some flights to the US. ANA said its flights to cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York were cancelled.

Air France said it would continue flying its Boeing 777s into the US. Air India cancelled its flights to cities like Chicago, and San Francisco. British Airways also announced the cancellation of flights. Others like Korean Air, Cathay Pacific, and Austrian Airlines said they would use different planes.

Meanwhile, the FAA said it would allow planes with reliable altimeters to operate around 5G airwaves. It added that aircraft using older altimeters would not be allowed to make landings under low-visibility conditions.

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