Airlines are asking the Biden administration for ‘immediate intervention’ on 5G

Representatives of 10 airlines asked the administration in a letter obtained by CNN to further delay the rollout near airports where the Federal Aviation Administration’s flight restrictions take effect when the technology takes effect. The aviation world is concerned that 5G signals will interfere with aviation technology, including radar. altimeter on board aircraft.

“The rush-hour effects across both passenger and freight operations, our workforce and the broader economy are simply unmanageable,” the leaders wrote. “To be honest, the nation’s trade will stall.”

The letter says discussions are underway between the airlines and the telecommunications industry. Conveyors Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), which owns CNN’s parent company, first delayed the rollout of 5G by January, and then agreed to a more limited airport-focused delay, which expires this week.

“Unless our large hubs are approved to fly, the vast majority of travelers and shipping will essentially be put on the ground. This means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be exposed to cancellations, redirects or delays. “

Verizon and AT&T declined to comment.

The letter was addressed to the White House, the Transportation Department, the Federal Communications Commission and the FAA. The signatories of the letter include members of Airlines for America: directors of Alaska Airlines, American Airlines (EEL), AtlasAir (AAWW), Delta Air Lines (FROM), Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways (JBLU), Southwest Airlines (LUV), United Airlines and the airline’s operations at FedEx (FDX) and UPS (UPS).

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

“When deployed next to runways, 5G signals can interfere with the important safety equipment that pilots rely on to take off and land in bad weather,” United said in a statement warning that safety issues could lead to “significant restrictions” on aircraft. to be able to operate at airports, including those in Houston, Newark, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

The FAA said in a statement Monday night that it “will continue to ensure the traveling public is safe as wireless companies implement 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 aircraft cleared

Federal officials ease some of the restrictions for commercial airlines, which take effect this week when new 5G technology comes online.

The FAA said it has approved two radar altimeters for use in some Boeing (BA) and Airbus jets, a move that it says will allow many U.S. commercial aircraft to make poorly visible landings at some airports.

Days before the activation on Wednesday, the FAA says it has lifted restrictions on about 45% of the US commercial aircraft fleet and that about 48 out of 88 affected runways will be eligible for landings with low visibility. Approvals include Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, MD-10 and MD-11 and 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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