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Airlines warn of “catastrophic” disaster as US 5G interference looms 

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The Federal Aviation Administration said the interference could impact sensitive aeroplane instruments including “altimeters and significantly hamper low-visibility operations”

Chief executives of major American airlines have warned of a potential “catastrophic” crisis following the deployment of new 5G services by telecommunication providers. 

The C-Band 5G service that will be implemented by AT&T and Verizon in the US from Wednesday, may leave numerous aircrafts unusable resulting in “tens of thousands” of Americans stranded on foreign land, the airlines said.

Even after a two-week delay by the companies to try and resolve airline industry concerns, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned the interference could impact sensitive aeroplane instruments including “altimeters and significantly hamper low-visibility operations”. 

“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 FAA letter argued.

On Monday, many airlines considered cancelling international flights due to arrive in America on Wednesday.

“Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the travelling and shipping public will essentially be grounded,” said the chief executives of American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL), Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) and others.

The FAA’s letter was also signed by UPS Airlines, Alaska Air, Atlas Air, JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ:JBLU) and FedEx’s (NYSE:FDX) Express.

“To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt,” it claimed.

AT&T and Verizon agreed to ‘buffer zones’ surrounding approximately 50 airports to reduce interference risks, Sky News reported.

Although, they insist C-Band 5G has been implemented in roughly 40 countries without causing issues.

The FAA said it “will continue to ensure that the travelling public is safe as wireless companies deploy 5G. 

“The FAA continues to work with the aviation industry and wireless companies to try to limit 5G-related flight delays and cancellations”.

Meanwhile, in the UK, the CAA (UK’s equivalent to the FAA) said: 

“There have been no reported incidents of aircraft systems being affected by 5G transmissions in UK airspace, but we are nonetheless working with Ofcom and the Ministry of Defence to make sure that the deployment of 5G in the UK does not cause any technical problems for aircraft.”

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