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Airlines Warn 5G Interference Issues Might Linger for Years

Nick Calio, who heads Airlines for America, to tell House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee that 5G issues facing industry should have been avoided

Aircraft, including Boeing 737, at airport
The pandemic and the grounding of its best-selling model after fatal crashes have drained its cash and saddled Boeing with debt.. Photo: Reuters


It will be likely to take “years” to permanently address aircraft interference issues caused by the deployment of 5G wireless in the C-band, a group representing major US passenger and cargo carriers will tell US lawmakers on Thursday.

Nick Calio, who heads Airlines for America, will tell a House of Representatives subcommittee that the 5G issues facing the aviation industry should have been avoided.

“The process that led to this operational nightmare should be held up as a cautionary tale of government communication and coordination gone awry,” Calio said in written testimony yet to be delivered.

“It will likely take years, not days or weeks, to fully and permanently mitigate the interference issues caused by deployment of 5G in the C-band,” adds Calio, whose group represents American Airlines, United Airlines, FedEx and other major carriers.

Verizon and AT&T in January agreed to delay deploying some 5G wireless towers near airports after the aviation industry and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned 5G interference can affect sensitive aircraft electronics such as radio altimeters.

The FAA said last week it has cleared 20 altimeter models and approved 90% of the US commercial fleet for landing in low-visibility approaches in areas with C-Band 5G.

But 5G has affected some flights in poor weather, especially some regional jets.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard





Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.


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