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5G technology: Airlines suspend some US flights due to implementation issue

Emirates, Air India, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines all announced service cuts citing the issue.

Emirates said it would suspend flights to nine U.S. airports: Boston, Chicago O'Hare, Dallas Fort Worth, George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, Miami, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco and Seattle. It said it would continue to fly to New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, Los Angeles Airport and Washington Dulles.

"We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to address operational concerns and we hope to resume our US services as soon as possible," Emirates said in a statement.

Air India said it would suspend service between Delhi Airport and San Francisco, Chicago and JFK. It will also suspend a flight from Mumbai to Newark.

Both ANA and Japan Airlines said they were canceling some flights to the U.S. that were scheduled to use Boeing 777 aircraft but will operate some flights with Boeing 787s instead.

Transport regulators had already been concerned that the version of 5G scheduled to be switched on in January could disrupt some aircraft instruments, and many aviation industry groups shared this fear - despite assurances from federal telecommunications authorities and wireless operators.

Specifically, the Federal Aviation Administration has been concerned that 5G cellular antennas near some airports - not airline mobile devices - could reject readings from any aircraft equipment designed to tell pilots how far from the ground. These systems, known as radar altimeters, are used during a flight and are considered critical equipment. (Radar altimeters differ from standard altimeters, which rely on air pressure readings and do not use radio signals to measure altitude.)

AT&T, Verizon delays launch of 5G near some airports after airlines ask Biden to intervene
The FAA had already moved in December to issue an urgent order banning pilots from using the potentially affected altimeters around airports where otherwise poor visibility would require them. The new rule could prevent planes from getting to some airports in certain circumstances because pilots would not be able to land using instruments alone.
AT&T, which owns CNN's parent company, and Verizon both announced Tuesday that they would delay the activation of 5G at some towers around certain airports. The rollout of wireless technology near major airports was scheduled for Wednesday.

"We are frustrated by the FAA's inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to implement 5G technology safely without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it to do so in a timely manner," said Megan Ketterer, a spokeswoman. for AT&T. .

The Biden administration welcomed the delay, saying in a statement that "the agreement will avoid potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations and our economic recovery, while allowing more than 90 percent of the roll-out of wireless towers to take place as planned. "

In a Tuesday letter, CEOs of 10 airlines told the Biden administration to push back the already delayed rollout. Airlines estimate 1,000 flight interruptions a day due to possible interference with radar altimeters, which pilots use to land under poor visibility. The telecommunications industry has not commented on the letter, but has said the fears are unfounded as there have been no problems in other countries where 5G is already installed.

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