US Airlines Warn of 5G Flight Disruptions

Major U.S. air carriers warn that plans by wireless carriers to use spectrum for 5G wireless services starting Jan. 5 could disrupt thousands of daily flights.

AT&T and Verizon Communications must delay the plans to use C-Band spectrum for 5G wireless services, United Airlines Chief Executive Scott Kirby said following a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing, saying it could delay, divert or cancel about 4% of daily flights and impact hundreds of thousands of passengers.

The aviation industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have raised concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters.

“Coming Jan. 5 — unless something changes — we will not be able to use radio altimeters at 40-something of the largest airports in the country,” Kirby said. “It is a certainty. This is not a debate.”

Kirby said it would mean that at major U.S. airports in the event of bad weather, cloud cover or even heavy smog “you could only do visual approaches essentially.”

The FAA plans to issue further notices to airlines before Jan. 5 offering more detail on the potential interference and is in discussion about which altimeters could be used under the current mitigation plans.

Watch it on CBS

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