5G Interference Won’t Fly Learn Why...

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Safety is Aviation’s Top Priority

Despite safety concerns raised by the aviation sector, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized telecom companies to use 5G spectrum that is adjacent to frequencies utilized by aircraft equipment known as radio altimeters. Because of the risk of interference, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) put in place safety restrictions which would have lead to significant operational disruptions for airline passengers, the shipping public, the supply chain, the delivery of needed medical supplies and our workforce.

IMPACT ESTIMATES: If the safety restrictions were in place in 2019, A4A estimates approximately...

32 million

passengers and millions of people who depend on timely air cargo shipments impacted.

345,000

U.S. airline passenger flights would have been delayed, diverted, or cancelled.

5,400

cargo flights would have been delayed, diverted, or cancelled.

$1.59 billion

per year in disruption costs for passengers in the form of lost time, productivity and wages.

Aviation Stakeholders Started Raising Concerns in 2018

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Aviation Industry
May 1, 2018
A4A files comments in response to FCC public notice raising radio altimeter and satellite communication (SATCOM) interference concerns.
DOT
December 1, 2018
DOT and FAA submit joint letter voicing interference concerns to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
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House T&I
November 22, 2019
House Transportation and Infrastrure Chair DeFazio sends letter to FCC warning of potential interference to radio altimeters from 5G deployment in the C-Band.
Aviation Industry
November 5, 2021
Aviation coalition sends letter to National Economic Council (NEC) urging it to “work with the FCC and FAA to ... delay the deployment of 5G technologies in this band until the safety and efficiency of the [National Air Space] is ensured.”
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FAA
December 7, 2021
FAA issues two Airworthiness Directives identifying safety concerns and outlining potential flight restrictions.
Aviation Industry
December 30, 2021
A4A files an emergency petition with the FCC to stay initiation of the deployment of 5G around certain airports until a solution can be identified.
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Recent Developments

The aviation industry wrote in a Nov. 18, 2021 letter to the FCC that “Air cargo and commercial air travel will likely cease at night and in any weather where the pilot cannot see the runway” if the interference issue isn’t addressed.

On Dec. 7, 2021, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive outlining the potential restrictions and citing “unsafe conditions” that required action before the Jan. 5, 2021, 5G implementation date “because radio altimeter anomalies that are undetected by the aircraft automation or pilot, particularly close to the ground… could lead to loss of continued safe flight and landing.”

On Jan. 13, 2022, the FAA issued hundreds of Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) detailing flight restrictions in advance of new 5G deployment around airports

HELPFUL RESOURCES

Frequently Asked Questions

  • > Why does this new 5G service threaten aviation safety?
  • > Why didn’t the aviation industry raise these concerns earlier?
  • > Is the U.S. airline industry against 5G?
  • > The telecom industry says 5G service has been deployed in dozens of other countries without any interference with radio altimeters. How do you answer that?
  • > Where do things stand?
  • > What was the potential impact on the traveling and shipping public?

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