US aviation group warns 5G interference problems could linger for years

5G words and an airplane toy are placed on a printed US flag in this illustration, taken Jan. 18, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (Reuters) – It will likely take “years” to permanently address aircraft interference issues caused by the deployment of 5G wireless in the C-band, a group representing major U.S. passenger and freight carriers will US lawmakers told Thursday.

Nick Calio, who heads Airlines for America, will tell a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee in written testimony that the 5G problems facing the airline industry should have been avoided.

“The process that led to this operational nightmare should be understood as a cautionary tale about miscommunication and government coordination,” said his testimony, reviewed by Reuters and not yet made public.

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“It will probably take years, not days or weeks, to completely and permanently reduce the interference problems caused by the deployment of 5G in the C-band,” added Calio, whose group American Airlines (AAL.O), United Airlines, FedEx represents. (FDX.N) and other major airlines.

Verizon and AT&T agreed in January to delay installing some 5G wireless towers near airports after the airline industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warned that 5G interference could affect sensitive avionics such as radio altimeters. . read more

The FAA said last week it has approved 20 altimeter models and cleared 90% of the U.S. commercial fleet for landing in low-visibility approaches in areas with C-Band 5G. But 5G has impacted some flights in inclement weather, especially some regional jets. read more

Aerospace Industries Association president Eric Fanning will tell lawmakers that progress is being made on the problem, but it has not yet been resolved.

“With many outstanding questions still on the table, there are disruptions in our future, even with further compromises and collaboration,” says his testimony.

The hearing will also include testimony from FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, CEO of the wireless industry group CTIA Meredith Attwell Baker and others.

A spokesman for the commission said the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was invited to testify but could not appear. The FCC did not immediately comment.

Baker will tell lawmakers that the wireless industry “remains confident that 5G poses no risk to air traffic safety.”

Air Line Pilots Association president Joe DePete says the FCC’s support of the telecom industry “has not only endangered the public, but forced pilots to implement extensive workarounds to improve flight safety.” safeguards.”

Cathryn Stephens, an airport official acting on behalf of the American Association of Airport Executives, will tell lawmakers that “pain continues and it is clear that the postponement may be temporary and dependent on the willingness of the telecom companies to operate in a limited manner. ” in some areas.”

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Reporting by David Shepardson; adaptation by Richard Pullin

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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