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Aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have again warned that 5G cellular signals – due to be rolled out in early January – could jeopardize the ability of aircraft to operate safely in areas of poor visibility.

The CEOs of the two aircraft manufacturers warned US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg that attempting to use their aircraft’s radio altimeters – devices that allow pilots to land in poor visibility and that rely solely on radio signals to determine flight altitude – dangerous, if not impossible, if the planned activation of 5G at over 40 of the country’s busiest airports were to take place as planned in January.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and Airbus Americas CEO Jeffrey Knittel asked the Biden government this week to postpone the rollout of 5G in the C-band spectrum, citing the potential “enormous negative impact on the aviation industry.” “.

The Federal Aviation Administration has already advised airlines that possible interference with radio altimeters from C-band cellular transmitters would cause the agency to prohibit pilots from relying on altitude determination instruments near certain airports. It is estimated that the restrictions could result in delays, cancellations or diversions of up to 4% of US flights.

Forcing the airlines to land the planes at a different location could not only cause inconvenience for passengers, pilots and staff, but also create legal problems if the alternative location is in a different country or state with different laws is located.

The Federal Communications Commission has argued that there is no real problem with the radio altimeters, and AT&T and Verizon, the main providers of 5G signals, have pledged to reduce or limit the strength of their networks. Both companies announced in a letter to FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Wednesday that they would introduce “limits” on their networks in the first half of the year “while additional evidence is being evaluated by the manufacturers of the radio altimeter.” dismissed that the problem could affect air traffic, arguing that “there is no credible evidence that a legitimate interference problem exists”.

The companies added that their actions would have no noticeable impact on the 5G services made available to customers, and complained that they had already invested $ 80 billion in acquiring the bandwidth for 5G, which originally supposed to be introduced in November. Further delays are pure “scare tactics”, they complained.

Fears about the imminent rollout of 5G have put pressure on the ailing aviation industry, which has already canceled thousands of flights over the normally busy Christmas season for fear of the new Omikron variant. Although the new variant seems to cause much milder symptoms than its predecessor, it has spread much faster than Delta, for example.

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