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By Sohail Sawlani

Chaos in Aviation: 5G Rollout in US Leaves Passengers Stranded and Airlines Uncertain. TESTING

USA, 19-21 JAN 2022 | 5G Rollout by AT&T and Verizon results in the cancellation of dozen of flights, leaving passengers stranded.

On January 19th, AT&T and Verizon, mobile broadband service companies, rolled out their new 5G C-band. This resulted in chaos in the aviation industry. Airlines such as Emirates, ANA Japan Airlines, Delta, British Airways and many more have delayed or cancelled some of their flights. This comes after fears that the new C-band will interfere with some aircraft instruments.

Boeing had also sent out an advisory to airlines, announcing flight restrictions, mainly for the Boeing 777, grounding it from flying to the US. This worsened the mass cancellation of flights.

For example, Emirates cancelled flights to San Francisco, Dallas, Orland, Seattle, Miami, Newark, Houston, Chicago and Boston.

AT&T and Verizon has also temporarily deffered turning on some of its 5G towers near airports, to help with the current situation. Frustratedly, AT&T made a statement.

AT&T stated:

We are frustrated by the FAA's inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it to do so in a timely manner

They have not utilized the two years they've had to responsibly plan for this deployment

Yesterday, the FAA have done tests and approved 78% of commercial planes to fly in the US and land at low-visibility airports affected by this 5G rollout. This includes major airliners such as the Boeing 777 and the Airbus A320.

The FAA said in a statement:

The FAA is working diligently to determine which altimeters are reliable and accurate where 5G is deployed in the United States. We anticipate some altimeters will be too susceptible to 5G interference. To preserve safety, aircraft with those altimeters will be prohibited from performing low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed because the altimeter could provide inaccurate information.

Today, airlines have slowly restarted their flights and operations are now back to usual. Emirates, particularly, will safely restore full scheduled operations to all its US destinations by tomorrow, slowly reopening from today.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said

We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers by the temporary suspension of flights to some of our US destinations. Safety will always be our top priority, and we will never gamble on this front. We welcome the latest development which enables us to resume essential transport links to the US to serve travellers and cargo shippers. However, we are also very aware that this is a temporary reprieve, and a long-term resolution would be required. Emirates will continue to work closely with the aircraft manufacturers and relevant regulators to ensure the safety and continuity of our service. We would like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding, and express appreciation to our teams and partners who have worked round the clock to minimise impact on customers and help us return to service quickly.

The FAA is currently working on a more permanent solution to this 5G rollout.

Emirates Airlines has restarted flights to the US | © Emirates

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Written by: Sohail Sawlani
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