Boeing and Airbus executives call for postponement of 5G wireless deployment in US

WASHINGTON, Dec.20 (Reuters) – Boeing (BN) CEO Dave Calhoun and Airbus Americas (AIR.PA) CEO Jeffrey Knittel on Monday urged the Biden administration to delay the planned rollout of new 5G wireless services, claiming that it could harm aviation safety.

Executives, in a joint letter seen by Reuters, asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to support AT&T (TN) and Verizon (VZ.N) ‘s January 5 postponement of the rollout of C-Band 5G wireless spectrum.

“5G interference could affect the ability of planes to operate safely,” the letter said, adding that it could have “a huge negative impact on the aviation industry”.

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Industry and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have raised concerns about 5G’s potential interference with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters.

The FAA issued airworthiness directives this month warning that 5G interference could lead to flight diversions. The agency plans to provide more information before January 5 read more

The Boeing Airbus letter cited an analysis by the Airlines for America (A4A) business group that had the FAA 5G directive been in effect in 2019, around 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 freight flights would have experienced delays, diversions. or cancellations.

A Boeing logo is seen at the company’s facilities in Everett after it was announced that their model 777X will make its first test flight later this week in Everett, Washington, United States, January 21, 2020. REUTERS / Lindsey Wasson / File Photo

Buttigieg’s office did not immediately comment.

In November, AT&T and Verizon delayed the commercial launch of C-band wireless service for a month until January 5 and adopted precautionary measures to limit interference.

Aviation industry groups have said that is insufficient. Boeing and Airbus said they made a counter-proposal that would limit cellular transmissions around airports and other critical areas.

United Airlines (UAL.O) chief executive Scott Kirby said last week that FAA 5G guidelines would ban the use of radio altimeters at around 40 of the nation’s largest airports.

Wireless industry group CTIA has said 5G is safe and accused the aviation industry of spreading fear and distorting the facts.

The Air Line Pilots Association said Monday that aviation and communications regulators are at an impasse. “It’s a big deal for passengers, shippers and the US economy,” the group said.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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