Airplane makers Boeing and Airbus have renewed their warnings that 5G cell phone signals – scheduled to be rolled out in earnest in early January – may threaten the ability of aircraft to operate safely in low-visibility areas.
The CEOs of both plane manufacturers warned US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that attempting to use their planes’ radio altimeters – devices that allow pilots to land in low visibility and depend solely on radio signals to gauge altitude – would become dangerous if not impossible should the planned activation of 5G at more than 40 of the country’s busiest airports be allowed to go forward as scheduled in January.
Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and Airbus Americas CEO Jeffrey Knittel pleaded with the Biden administration this week to delay the 5G rollout over the C-Band spectrum, citing a potential “enormous negative impact on the aviation industry.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has previously told airlines that possible interference with radio altimeters from C-Band cell-site transmitters would require the agency to ban pilots from relying on the instruments to track altitude near certain airports. It is estimated that the restrictions could cause delays, cancelations or diversions to as many as 4% of US flights.