“The chief executives of major U.S. passenger and cargo carriers on Monday warned of an impending ‘catastrophic’ aviation crisis in less than 36 hours, when AT&T and Verizon are set to deploy new 5G service. The airlines warned the new C-Band 5G service set to begin on Wednesday could render a significant number of widebody aircraft unusable, ‘could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas’ and cause ‘chaos’ for U.S. flights,” reports Reuters.
“Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded,” wrote the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines , Southwest Airlines, and other airlines. The FAA has warned that interference from the new 5G service might affect sensitive airplane instruments such as altimeters and make low-visibility operations more difficult. “This means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions or delays,” the letter warned.
As Reuters noted,
Airlines late on Monday were considering whether to begin canceling some international flights that are scheduled to arrive in the United States on Wednesday.
“With the proposed restrictions at selected airports, the transportation industry is preparing for some service disruption. We are optimistic that we can work across industries and with government to finalize solutions that safely mitigate as many schedule impacts as possible,” plane maker Boeing (BA.N) said on Monday.
Action is urgent, the airlines added in the letter also signed by UPS Airlines, Atlas Air, JetBlue Airways and FedEx Express. “To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt.”
As Jazz Shaw notes,
If this entire situation goes pear-shaped tomorrow, don’t say that you didn’t receive plenty of warnings. We learned over the Christmas holiday period that the nation’s airlines were in a panic over the impending launch of a national 5G network because many of their commercial aircraft could suffer navigational equipment failures when exposed to the new C-band radiation coming from the cell towers. The rollout of the new service, mostly by Verizon and AT&T, was scheduled to start on January 3rd, but the date was pushed back until tomorrow in a “compromise” that basically satisfied nobody. Now the date is almost upon us and the nation’s major airlines have sent an urgent letter to multiple federal government departments warning that a “catastrophic aviation crisis” is on the way unless something is done. They’re talking about the possible cancellation of more than a thousand flights daily, affecting as many as 100,000 passengers. And yet the launch is apparently still scheduled to go forward….
Keep in mind that these alarms being raised over the new 5G networks have nothing to do with some of the conspiracy theories making the rounds out there. The airlines are not suggesting that 5G causes COVID or that the transmissions will activate the microscopic tracking chips in the vaccines most of us have received. They’re talking about older digital altimeters that are not shielded against C-band radiation and can potentially be disabled by it. Any plane coming in for an instrument landing during poor visibility conditions could find itself in a lot of trouble and that’s a risk that the airlines are rightly refusing to take….
Under the current plan that Buttigieg’s Department of Transportation approved, only fifty airports in the entire country will be “shielded” from the C-band radiation. For the thousands of other airports, the airlines will be forced to pick and choose which planes with newer altimeters can be sent to the rest of them. The planes with older altimeters will be restricted to flights between only those fifty airports. Obviously, this is going to lead to massive disruptions and delays.