Airlines Across US Cancel, Reschedule Dozens of Flights Amid 5G Wireless Technology Rollout Concerns
By: Epoch Times
A Delta Airlines passenger jet approaches to land at LAX in Los Angeles, Calif., on April 7, 2021. (Mike Blake/Reuters)
Multiple airlines across the United States have been scrambling to reschedule or cancel flights to the country ahead of a planned 5G wireless technology rollout on Wednesday that has sparked safety concerns among officials.
The cancellations come as Verizon and AT&T are finally set to roll out their next-generation 5G wireless technology despite ongoing concerns as to how the technology could affect flights.
Air India on Tuesday announced on Twitter that four flights scheduled for Wednesday and departing from India and arriving at U.S. airports including the John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, O’Hare International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport would be canceled.
“Due to deployment of the 5G communications in USA, we will not be able to operate the following flights of 19th Jan’22,” the airline said, listing four India to U.S. flights,” the company said.
In a statement, Dubai-based Emirates airline said it was also suspending flights to nine U.S. destinations from Jan. 19 due to “operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the U.S. at certain airports.”
The airline said the affected destinations were Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco, and Seattle and the flights will be suspended until further notice.
Emirates flights to New York JFK, Los Angeles (LAX), and Washington DC (IAD) will continue to operate as scheduled.
“We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our U.S. services as soon as possible,” said Emirates.
Atlanta-headquartered Delta said that it was planning for the possibility of “weather-related cancellations caused by the deployment of new 5G service in the vicinity of dozens of U.S. airports, starting as early as Wednesday.”
“The FAA, which regulates airlines, has issued numerous notices that restrict flight activity near airports where this new deployment of 5G service in the C-band spectrum could cause limited interference with altitude instruments on aircraft under various weather conditions that aircraft safely operate in today. As such, Delta is taking the necessary steps to ensure safety remains the priority in compliance with FAA guidelines,” the company said.
A contract crew for Verizon works on a cell tower to update it to handle the new 5G network in Orem, Utah, on Dec. 10, 2019. (George Frey/AFP via Getty Images)
A Dreamliner 787-10 arriving from Los Angeles pulls up to a gate at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, on Jan. 7, 2019. (Seth Wenig, File/AP Photo)
Meanwhile, Japan’s All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. said in a statement that the FAA “has indicated that radio waves from the 5G wireless service may interfere with aircraft altimeters.”
“Boeing has announced flight restrictions on all airlines operating the Boeing 777 aircraft, and we have canceled or changed the aircraft for some flights to/from the U.S. based on the announcement by Boeing,” ANA said.
The company canceled 20 flights to the United States including to the cities of Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York.
Of particular concern in the 5G rollout appears to be the Boeing 777.
Japan Airlines Co. Ltd. similarly said that it had been informed by Boeing that “5G signals for U.S. mobile phones, which will begin operating in the U.S. on January 19, may interfere with the radio wave altimeter installed on the Boeing 777.”
The company had canceled some flights to the United States on Wednesday but after receiving confirmation from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) “that there is no longer a problem with the operation of the Boeing 777 ” it would resume service to the United States with Boeing 777 from January 20.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and if there is any impact on our flight operations, we will promptly announce it on our website,” the airline said.
Multiple other companies including Korean Air, Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific, and German airline Lufthansa said they had switched some of their Boeing 777s scheduled to fly into the United States for other aircraft.
The Epoch Times has contacted Boeing for comment.
In a letter to White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, the CEOs warned that the nation’s commerce could essentially “grind to a halt” and there could be “significant operation disruptions.”
The letter was signed by the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and others.
On Tuesday, both AT&T and Verizon agreed to temporarily delay their 5G rollouts near certain airports amid ongoing flight safety fears.
“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and our nation’s airlines have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports, despite it being safe and fully operational in more than 40 other countries,” Verizon said in a statement.
AT&T told The Hill in an email that it had “temporarily deferred turning on C-Band transmitters within a two-mile radius of the airport runways specified by the FAA,” but did not state which airports were affected.
On Sunday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that it had cleared an estimated 45 percent of the U.S. commercial airplane fleet to perform low-visibility landings at many airports where 5G C-band will be deployed on Jan. 19.