U.S. airlines across the board have issued a stark warning that if the 5G roll-out near airports is given the green light, it will lead to a “catastrophic” and “chaotic” aviation crisis.
Per Reuters, the chief executives of major U.S. passenger and cargo carriers warned earlier this week that when AT&T (T.N) and Verizon (VZ.N) deploy their new C-Band 5G service, it could detrimentally affect many flights. In a joint letter, the chief executives from American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and many others explained, “Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded. It could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas and cause chaos.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 5G could potentially interfere with sensitive airplane instruments like altimeters and compromise low visibility operations. The letter cautioned, “This means on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions or delays.”
The airlines have urged the White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson and Federal Communications (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to take urgent action and warned that if they don’t, “the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt.”
The FAA also issued a statement explaining it “will continue to ensure that the traveling public is safe as wireless companies deploy 5G. The FAA continues to work with the aviation industry and wireless companies to try to limit 5G-related flight delays and cancellations.”
Verizon and AT&T have argued that their C-Band 5G has been successfully rolled out in 40 other countries without any reported incidents of aviation interference issues. However, all the concerned airlines have asked that 5G is not implemented within 2 miles of airport runways at key airports, or thousands of flights, millions of passengers, and tons of cargo will be negatively affected. They explained, “Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies.”