5G service launched in US without major disruptions to flights

Jan 19, 2022:

Telecom companies AT&T and Verizon launched 5G service without major disruption to flights in the US on Wednesday after the introduction of new wireless technology.

A handful of international carriers canceled flights to the United States from their schedules on Wednesday, but there were no major cancellations, and some of those companies plan to resume service on Thursday.

According to website FlightAware, at 1630 GMT on Wednesday, approximately 215 flights scheduled to either depart or land at US airports were canceled. That number is lower than the 538 reported last Wednesday, although the number could rise throughout the day.

Airlines that reduced flights on Wednesday included Emirates, Air India, ANA and Japan Airlines. Both ANA and Japan Airlines said they were resuming service on Thursday following assurances from US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulators.

“As the launch of the 5G service in the US has now been partially postponed, operation of ANA flights from Jan. 20 will follow the normal schedule based on FAA notification that there is no safety issue with the operation of Boeing 777 aircraft to the US airports that we serve,” said a statement from ANA President Yuji Hirako.

Telecom companies spent tens of billions of dollars to obtain 5G licenses last year, but aviation industry groups have raised concerns about possible interference with aircraft radio altimeters – which operate at the same frequency, especially in bad weather. On Tuesday, both AT&T and Verizon agreed to reduce the launch of 5G near airports following shouts from American airlines, which warned of massive disruptions.

AT&T said Wednesday that its high-speed service is available in “limited parts” of the eight largest metropolitan areas of the United States, while Verizon said it now provides 5G coverage to 90 million Americans.

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