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Airlines ask Biden administration for ‘immediate intervention’ on 5G

<i>Jason Redmond/AFPGetty Images</i><br/>The Federal Aviation Administration allows many US commercial aircraft to make low-visibility landings at some airports.
AFP via Getty Images
Jason Redmond/AFPGetty Images
The Federal Aviation Administration allows many US commercial aircraft to make low-visibility landings at some airports.

By Pete Muntean and Gregory Wallace, CNN Business

Executives from the largest US airlines asked the Biden administration for “immediate intervention” in the planned rollout of 5G technology near major airports on Wednesday, warning of dire consequences for transportation and the economy.

The representatives of 10 carriers asked the administration in a letter obtained by CNN to further delay the rollout near airports where Federal Aviation Administration flight restrictions take effect once the technology kicks in. The aviation world is concerned 5G signals will interfere with aviation technology including the radar altimeter onboard planes.

“The ripple effects across both passenger and cargo operations, our workforce and the broader economy are simply incalculable,” the executives wrote. “To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt.”

Reuters first reported the letter.

The letter says discussions between the airlines and the telecommunications industry are ongoing. Carriers Verizon and AT&T, which owns CNN’s parent company, first delayed the 5G rollout until January, and then agreed to a more limited airport-focused delay that expires this week.

“Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and 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.”

Verizon and AT&T declined to comment.

The letter was addressed to the White House, Transportation Department, Federal Communications Commission and FAA. Signatories to the letter include members of Airlines for America: executives with Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and the airline operations at FedEx and UPS.

On Monday evening, United Airlines warned of “a devastating impact on aviation” if 5G is rolled out near airports.

“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,” United said in a statement, warning that safety concerns could lead to “significant restrictions” on aircraft being able to operate at airports, including those in Houston, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

The FAA said in a Monday evening statement that 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,” it said.

Some commercial planes cleared

Federal officials are easing up some of the restrictions on commercial airliners set to take effect this week when new 5G technology comes online.

The FAA said it has cleared for use two radar altimeters used in some Boeing and Airbus jets, a move that it says will allow many US commercial aircraft to make low-visibility landings at some airports.

Days ahead of the Wednesday activation, the FAA says it has lifted restrictions on about 45% of the US commercial aircraft fleet and that about 48 of 88 impacted runways will be eligible 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.

“Even with these new approvals, flights at some airports may still be affected,” the FAA said in a statement. “The FAA also continues to work with manufacturers to understand how radar altimeter data is used in other flight control systems.”

– CNN Business’s Clare Duffy contributed to this report

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  1. If 5G can affect the airlines…maybe we shouldn’t have it at all. There is much debate about what the 5G technology does to the human body. With that not being studies prior to it going live and seeing a huge increase in headaches in areas with 5G, maybe the government should be more concerned for our children. But, alas, they are more concerned that we mask and jab kids than they are about possible health effects of technology.

  2. According to the vaccine nanobots in my head, 5G is nothing to worry about. It’s not all the time, I only hear them while running the microwave. I told my doctor and she said get a toaster oven, which I did, but then I started getting these impulses to buy microwave popcorn. My kitchen counter is now piled with puffed bags. I know it’s weird but at least I’m safe from the Omicron.

  3. It hasnt had this issue anyone where else in the world, iot wont here either. We’ll be fine. Besides, you’ve had years to prepare.

    No more holding back progress because companies wanna cheap out. We need innovation.

  4. Depends on whether this message of concern gets to biden’s handlers or not. They’re constantly telling sniffles how our kids are in dire straits and need the 💉, that kids virility will help them stave off any possible health effects from the 5G transmitted microwaves.

  5. they keep saying that it “could” affect the aircraft systems. with so much at stake here, one would think that they would have tested this at an air force base or a remote airfield to verify whether it does or does not interfere. I am no expert in radio communications but Im not certain why 5g is a necessity in the cell phone world. 4g is fast and reliable.

  6. Fast download speeds are more important that flying around in airliners. Once the Metaverse is open people can travel without moving. Tired of long lines, TSA, government and airlines rules, other passengers?

    Get your Meta chip implant today, power up, log in and be free to travel anywhere!

    Kids these days ….

  7. They have been building 5g towers for years, are the airlines just now figuring out that this could cause problems? Well, at least your internet will be fast as your passenger jet is hurtling towards the ground.

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