Two of the world’s biggest plane makers, Boeing and Airbus have warned that 5G technology could have an “enormous negative impact on the aviation industry”. Concerns have been raised that the C-Band spectrum 5G wireless could interfere with aircraft electronics. This warning comes as AT&T and Verizon – US telecoms giants are to deploy 5G services on January 5.
Dave Calhoun and Jeffrey Knittel, bosses of Boeing and Airbus Americas, in a joint letter to the US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, highlighted that 5G interference could adversely affect the ability of aircraft to safely operate. They cited research by trade group Airlines of America. It had found that if the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 5G rules had been in effect in 2019, about 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 cargo flights would have faced delays, diversions or cancellations.
Moreover, there are concerns about the possible interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft equipment like radio altitude meters. “Airbus and Boeing have been working with other aviation industry stakeholders in the US to understand the potential 5G interference with radio altimeters,” the joint statement said. “An Aviation Safety Proposal to mitigate potential risks has been submitted for consideration to the US Department of Transportation.”
The FAA has also issued airworthiness directives warning that 5G interference could result in flight diversions and would be providing more information before the January 5 rollout date. Boeing and Airbus have made a counter proposal that would limit cellular transmissions around airports and other critical areas. The Airline Pilots Association says 5G technology is a big problem for passengers, shippers and the American economy.