Airline braces for flight restrictions at 5G standoffs

The airline has begun planning on possible flight interruptions as U.S. regulators are considering competing proposals to protect aircraft from new aircraft. 5th Generation Cellular Service According to industry insiders, it will be operational early next year.

As regulators analyze cell tower and aircraft data, early-stage planning involves developing emergency response plans without knowing where flight restrictions may be needed. This is a potential limitation on landing in bad weather and other poor visibility in up to 46 locations in the country’s largest metropolitan area, which is scheduled to begin service on January 5, in accordance with regulatory orders earlier this month. Is outlined.

The wireless industry claims that the planned wireless service does not pose a risk to the aircraft, but the Federal Aviation Administration said it is concerned about the possibility of mobile phone signals. Impact on the cockpit safety system..

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Airline executives are in the midst of that controversy. “No matter what the weather or the strong winds, if you have smog and poor visibility, you can’t use the device.”

United Airlines Holdings Ltd

UAL 1.82%

Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby told reporters on December 15th: This has no consequences. “

About a year ago, the Federal Communications Commission auctioned some of the 5G-enabled frequencies, also known as the C-band.Top auction winner

AT & T Ltd

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Although it was approved earlier this month to launch some faster cellular services, Delayed rollout Until January 5th to address FAA’s outstanding concerns.The Companies also pledge Dimming the C-band signal for another 6 months, especially near the airport runway.

Flight restrictions can complicate the recovery of the US aviation industry from the Covid-19 pandemic. Domestic travel is recovering and airlines are betting on a surge in international demand in the summer of 2022.Although some airlines may need to adjust their travel plans for the following reasons:

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Mr. Kirby’s delivery of the 787 Dreamliner was delayed and he spoke at the Senate hearing on December 15. Called the possible 5G limit “The biggest and most damaging problem we are facing”.

Officials in the US telecommunications industry have challenged allegations about the safety risks of new technologies. Nick Ludlum, a spokesman for the wireless industry group CTIA, said: “This service will launch in January with the world’s most extensive protection measures.”

The range of US flight restrictions is expected to be highly dependent on the 5G buffer zone around the airport.


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Regulators are in conflict Beyond competing proposals from the US aviation and telecommunications industry to limit new 5G signals near airports. At a high-level meeting on Wednesday attended by Secretary of Transportation Pete Butigeg and FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenwessel, authorities discussed the proposals of both industries to create a buffer zone around the airport, people familiar with the matter said. Stated.

Butigeg asked the FCC to consider the aviation industry’s proposal, some of these people said. An FCC official explained that the proposal was a non-starter equivalent to the option without 5G, said another person familiar with the meeting.

Rosenworcel of the FCC says he believes authorities will find a solution to enable 5G deployments quickly and securely. “I am confident in the mitigations offered by the wireless industry,” she said at a press conference on December 14.

A FAA spokesman said regulators will continue to work with other federal agencies and radio companies to “ensure the safe coexistence of the 5GC band and aviation.”

“”“It’s like a bad hurricane. You won’t know where to hit until you’re actually a little closer.”

According to industry insiders, airlines are considering different scenarios and have been waiting for details from the FAA since January 5th on how wide or where the restrictions will be targeted. About a week before that day, the FAA is expected to issue a pilot warning specifying which airports are subject to restrictions, people familiar with the matter said.

Despite the uncertainties, airlines are assessing how canceled or detoured flights affect the needs of fuel, aircraft, and crew, small cargo and passenger airlines. George Paul, vice president of technical services for the National Airlines Association, said.

“It’s like a bad hurricane. You won’t know where it will hit until you’re actually a little closer,” Paul said.

Airlines are also seeking guidance from aerospace manufacturers. Boeing sometimes makes its own safety recommendations, assessing potential risks that the FAA has not addressed, people familiar with the matter say. Boeing engineers have been investigating issues related to takeoff and pilot response to possible 5G interference, according to one of these people.

European airplane maker


The SE said it is working with regulatory agencies and the FAA to provide guidance to airlines. The FAA’s counterpart, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, said it wasn’t as concerned about 5G issues as U.S. regulators, said people near regulators, but acknowledged unconfirmed reports of 5G interference. An airline that responds to inquiries from people who are worried.

The autopilot is used on almost every flight, but it’s not clear what it does. Captain Sonya Laxo of American Airlines explains the technology behind autopilot, how it is used, and why it isn’t really “automatic.”Photo Illustration: Laura Kammerman

The range of US flight restrictions is expected to be highly dependent on the 5G buffer zone around the airport. Such proposed protection includes reduced 5G signal strength and a directed antenna to avoid potential interference with the aircraft’s radar altimeter, which measures the distance between the aircraft and the ground. Includes restrictions.

A Preliminary FAA analysis Proposals in the aviation industry have found that they are likely to avoid serious disruptions in US air traffic, people familiar with the matter said. Early analysis by the authorities on the telecommunications industry’s proposal suggests that it could lead to widespread cancellations and divisions in bad weather, these people said.

The FAA may also determine that certain radar altimeters are not at risk of interference and exempt aircraft equipped with them from flight restrictions, according to White House officials involved in the dispute mediation.

Larger airport buffer zones prevent mobile operators spending $ 81 billion on C-band licenses from reaching many customers in some of the more densely populated cities they serve.

Speaking at a recent Senate hearing,

Delta Air Lines Of a corporation

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“We also know that aircraft and aviation safety concerns are very real and there is a solution here,” said operations manager John Rafter.

—AlisonSider and Benjamin Katz contributed to this article.

Write to Andrew Tanger Andrew.Tangel@wsj.com And at Drufitz Gerald andrew.fitzgerald@wsj.com

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Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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