The heads of the world’s two largest plane manufacturers have urged the US government to postpone the launch of new 5G phone services. Top executives from Boeing and Airbus wrote a statement warning that the technology might have a hugely detrimental impact on the aviation industry.
Concerns have been raised in the past that 5G wireless in the C-Band frequency could interfere with aeroplane equipment.
AT&T and Verizon, two of the largest US telecommunications companies, are expected to launch 5G services on January 5th.
In a joint letter to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the CEOs of Boeing and Airbus Americas, Dave Calhoun and Jeffrey Knittel warned that 5G interference could severely damage aircraft’s ability to safely fly.
According to data conducted by trade group Airlines for America, nearly 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 cargo aircraft would have experienced delays, diversions, or cancellations if the FAA’s 5G guidelines had been in place in 2019.
Concerns have been expressed by the aviation sector and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concerning 5G’s possible interference with sensitive aircraft equipment such as radio altitude metres.
The FAA issued airworthiness directions earlier this month, warning that 5G interference could cause aircraft delays and promising to offer further information before the January 5 deployment date.
At&T and Verizon announced in November that they would delay the commercial debut of C-band cellular service by a month, to January 5, and that they would take preventive measures to limit interference.
Aviation industry groups have complained that the safeguards are insufficient, and Boeing and Airbus have proposed a counterproposal that would restrict cellular communications near airports and other important sites.
United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby stated last week that the FAA’s 5G regulations will prohibit the use of radio altitude metres at around 40 of the country’s busiest airports.
The CTIA, a trade group for the wireless industry in the United States, has declared 5G to be safe, accusing the aviation industry of scaremongering and misrepresenting data.