Emirates president: The 5G snafu is the biggest screwup I've witnessed in my career:
The president of Emirates tells CNN that the airline was not aware of some of the potential 5G rollout issues until yesterday morning, calling the situation "one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible" he has seen in his aviation career.
[...] Emirates president Tim Clark said that they were not aware of the issues until yesterday morning "to the extent that it was going to compromise the safety of operation of our aircraft and just about every other 777 operator to and from the United States and within the United States."
Transportation regulators had already been concerned that the version of 5G that was scheduled to be switched on could interfere with some airplane instruments, and many aviation industry groups shared those fears — despite reassurances from federal telecom regulators and wireless carriers.
Specifically, the Federal Aviation Administration has been worried that 5G cellular antennas near some airports — not air travelers' mobile devices — could throw off readings from some aircraft equipment designed to tell pilots how far they are from the ground. Those systems, known as radar altimeters, are used throughout 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 gauge altitude.)
International airlines suspend some US flights over 5G uncertainty:
Major international airlines are scrambling to modify or cancel flights to the United States amid uncertainty about potential interference between new 5G cell phone services and critical airplane technologies.
Emirates, Air India, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa and British Airways all announced changes to some flights, citing the issue.
Emirates said it would suspend flights into nine US 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 flying into New York's John F. Kennedy airport, Los Angeles International and Washington Dulles.
"We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our US services as soon as possible," Emirates said in its statement.
Air India said it would suspend service between Delhi and San Francisco, Chicago and JFK. It will also suspend a Mumbai to Newark flight. It will continue to fly into Washington Dulles.
Both ANA and Japan Airlines said they canceled some flights to the United States scheduled to use Boeing 777 aircraft, but will operate some flights using Boeing 787s instead.
Germany's Lufthansa canceled a flight between Frankfurt and Miami. It said it would swap Boeing 747-8 aircraft for 747-400s on flights from Frankfurt to Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.
A spokesperson for British Airways told CNN Business that it "had to make a handful of cancellations" because a decision by telecom operators to delay activating the new 5G service at some locations didn't cover all the airports the airline serves.
Will 5G Mobile Networks in the US Really Interfere With Aircraft?
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has raised concerns that 5G telephone networks will interfere with radio altimeters fitted to some aircraft. These are crucial for making landings in poor visibility and for helicopters flying at low altitude. Nonetheless, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorised the roll-out of these networks, including the placement of phone masts near airports.
The radio spectrum is a public resource, and it is both congested and hotly contested in the US. Nothing goes to waste and industries lobby hard to secure their portion. Unfortunately, the part of the spectrum set aside for vital aircraft operations sits very close to that assigned for 5G in the US and raises the chance of interference.
There is no single part of the electromagnetic spectrum that 5G occupies. Some countries are using 600 megahertz to 900 megahertz, which isn’t dissimilar to 4G. Some are placing it between 2.3 gigahertz and 4.7 gigahertz, which boosts data speed somewhat. And others are using 24 gigahertz to 47 gigahertz, which requires more towers but offers even higher data speeds. In many cases a network will use a mix of these. In the US, the frequencies allocated for 5G are closer to those used by aircraft than those allocated by the EU.
Radio altimeters operate in the 4.2 gigahertz to 4.4 gigahertz band, and the US has set aside a portion of the spectrum right up to the lower band of that for 5G. In Europe, the comparable band ends at 4 gigahertz.
[...] Time will tell how the matter is resolved, but, in truth, both the telecoms industry and the airline industry are too profitable for a solution not to be found quickly. It is likely that existing altimeters will be rated as safe eventually, or new ones will be designed that are more robust against 5G interference.
What is your take on this?
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(Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Thursday January 20 2022, @10:38AM
As I understand it, the US could have spent some money by asking non-US aircraft to take part in a trial - but they didn't want to do that. So non-US airlines cancelling flights is probably the best way to focus US minds to find out the true extent of the problem, and to tell everyone why has it left it so late to decide that they cannot assure foreign operators (even flying US manufactured aircraft!) of aircraft safety? This is purely a US problem - they sold the frequency bands and even extended them more that was perhaps wise in order to make lots of money. The 5G manufactures have designed and built their equipment to use the frequency bands that they paid for. Try telling the rest of the world that they have to pay now to modify their aircraft which work perfectly well everywhere else but in the US.