Like many airlines worldwide, LATAM Airlines Group also adjusted their schedules and aircraft deployments for flight to the United States (US) over concerns about the possible interference between 5G and aircraft technology, particularly in the areas around airports.
As a result, the South American airline on January 18, 2022, switched a fraction of its operations to counteract such a measure, modifying the aircraft it would use on long-haul routes between Brazil and the US, going from the Boeing 777-300ER to the B767 and B787 Dreamliner.
However, the modification didn’t last long; the airline has put the Boeing 777-300ER back on the US routes, following the delay in switching on the 5G network by AT&T and Verizon.
Through a statement published it was reported that “LATAM has no further change scheduled, either on its flights or aircraft employed on routes between Brazil and the United States. The company is closely tracking the development of this topic, always following the guidelines provided by the authorities of the countries where it flies to.”
“Exceptionally, on January 18, and only as a precautionary measure, LATAM substituted its Boeing 777 (with a capacity for 410 passengers) on that date with the Boeing 787 (capacity for 300 passengers) in the Guarulhos-Miami route and with the Boeing 767 (capacity for 221 passengers) in the Guarulhos-New York route,” the airline added.
The replacement decision was made only on those two routes, from Brazil to the US, because they were the only ones that operated with the Boeing 777 fleet. The warning from the authorities came before the indication that the new 5G technology that is going to be deployed in the US could interfere with devices such as altimeters, which measure how far a plane travels from the ground.
In the meantime, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) “is working on measures to ensure that radio signals from newly activated wireless telecommunications systems can coexist safely with flight operations in the United States, with input from the aviation sector and telecommunications industry.”
It is should be remembered that the presidents of 10 US airlines sounded the alarm before the authorities, to warn of the potential “chaos” that the deployment of ultra-fast 5G network technology in the vicinity of airports would represent.
“We write to urgently request that 5G be implemented from January 19 anywhere except 2 miles (about 3.2 km) from airport runways, as defined by the FAA,” the federal aviation authority, points out the letter that was also signed by the cargo giants FedEx and UPS.
“Immediate intervention is needed to prevent a major operational disruption to passengers, carriers, supply chains and the delivery of essential medical supplies,” they said two days before the 5G network went live.
The airlines and cargo companies of the US are concerned about the consequences of this network on the planes due to possible disturbances in the control instruments. In December, the manufacturers Airbus and Boeing also expressed “concern” about possible disturbances in the instrumentation of their devices by 5G, in a letter to the United States Department of Transportation.
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