Airlines Warn 5G Network Could Cause Expensive Flight Delays

by Samantha Whidden

Airlines are now reportedly warning that the 5G network could actually jam their systems and may also lead to 350,000 delays a year.

The New. York Post reported that executives of airlines are sounding a louder alarm about the impending rollout of 5G network service. They explained that the cellphone frequencies may lead to even more delays each year. Why? Because they could jam their in-flight systems. 

The media outlet also revealed that the ultra-fast C-Band service will roll out nationally in big cities on January 5th. This means that airlines need to share their safety concerns sooner rather than later. Southwest Airlines CEO, Greg Kelly, stated that 5G is his company’s No.1 concern. An industry group says that the 5G service could lead to over $2 billion in delays each year. 

In a U.S. Senate hearing last week, United Airlines CEO, Scott Kirby, explained that if the cell service is deployed as planned, hundreds of thousands of passengers could see their flights delayed, diverted, or even canceled in 2022. “It would be a catastrophic failure of government,” the airline executive declares. He also predicted that the 5G network rollout would affect around 4 percent of all flights.

Both Kirby and Kelly then called on AT&T and Verizon to delay the implementation of the 5G C-Band service. They explained the maddening delays for passengers as well as the financial losses for the airline industry, which has already been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Federal Aviation Administration Regulators Are Analyzing Cell Town & Aircraft to Address 5G Issue 

Over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal revealed that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulators are now analyzing cell phone and aircraft data to determine how to dress the 5G issues. The organization is expecting to send out warnings to pilots about which airport will see 5G-related restrictions. 

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel are reportedly clashing over the issue. Buttigieg asked FCC to consider a proposal from airlines that would include 5G signal limitations around airports in order to create buffer zones. FCC ended up dismissing the idea, calling it unrealistic. 

Despite the airline responses, AT&T and Verizon have continued to deny that 5G technology will cause flight disruption. Nick Ludlum, Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer at CTIA, states in a Twitter post, “5G operates safely and without causing harmful interference to aviation operations in nearly 40 countries around the world.”

Ludlum also says that U.S. airlines fly safely and out of the 40 countries daily without any delays and disruptions related to the C-Band 5G operations.

“However, any delay in our 5G rollout will have significant impacts,” Ludlum explains. He also cites the Boston Consulting Group. They state that every six-month delay may cost the U.S. economy $25 billion in economic benefits.