Air India Cancels 8 Flights to the US on 5G Worries

Air India Cancels 8 Flights to the US on 5G Worries

by 5paisa Research Team Last Updated: Aug 08, 2022 - 07:00 pm 39.3k Views

Air India announced that it has cancelled 8 flights to the US after the United States decided to roll out 5G wireless networks. In a terse statement, Air India just announced that all flights to the US were being cancelled due to roll out of 5G networks in the US. If that sounds surprising, there is a strong reason why Air India has done the same.

India is not alone in cancelling flights to the US due to the 5G rollout. Apart from Air India, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Emirates have also announced cancellation of flights to the US due to deployment of 5G networks. Singapore Airlines, has changed the type of aircrafts flying to the US. SIA will be flying Airbus instead of Boeing to the US.

The issue was triggered after a warning was issued by the nodal aviation regulator in the US, the FAA. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had highlighted safety concerns while operating aircraft in between 5G high speed internet connections in the US. The bandwidth used by the aircraft signalling systems matched with the 5G bandwidth systems and hence there was a possibility of disruption in execution of commands.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had highlighted three risks. Firstly, the communication of the aircraft with the air traffic control (ATC) could get impacted. Secondly, the ability of the auto systems in the aircraft to regulate the speed of aircraft on the runway would get impacted. Lastly, FAA has also warned that there was also a distinct possibility that the braking system of the aircraft could get disrupted by 5G interference.

CEOs of various airlines across the world have highlighted the risk that the impact of 5G on smooth aircraft operation could be worse than imagined. In the US, both AT&T and Verizon will be activating their 5G wireless service from this week and have warned that thousands of aircraft could get grounded as a result. 

According to telecom experts, the new 5G service launched in the US uses a segment of the radio spectrum that is very close to the ones used by altimeters. These altimeters are actually devices that measure the height of the aircraft from the ground. When their signals are disrupted, they could send out wrong communication to the aircraft which could impact the braking systems, landing systems as well as the acceleration and deceleration.

Both AT&T and Verizon have dismissed these concerns. The Federal Communications Commission in 2020 had set a buffer between the 5G band and the spectrum used by planes to allay any safety concerns. Countries like France have, as a response mechanism, have reduced the power of 5G networks near airports to avoid such problems. Hopefully, this issue should be addressed at the earliest since stakes are too high from both sides.

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