(New York) US airlines warned on Wednesday that recently adopted restrictions by the US Aviation Agency (FAA) on 5G rollout could cost passengers up to $1.59 billion annually, and called on authorities to find a quick fix.
This is our “principal short-term concern,” Southwest Airlines president Gary Kelly said during a Senate airline hearing.
“This is probably the most important and most damaging problem we face right now,” said United Airlines counterpart Scott Kirby.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is concerned about potential interference issues between altimeters on aircraft and new frequency bands for the 5G network that is set to be launched on January 5 by phone companies Verizon and AT&T.
As a result, last week it issued new guidelines that limit the use of these devices in certain situations.
In a report released on Wednesday, the union that represents US airlines estimates that, if implemented before the pandemic in 2019, these new rules would have affected about 345,000 passenger flights, 32 million passengers, and 5,400 flights. or transfers or cancellations.
This lost time would have accounted for about $1.59 billion per year for passengers, as this union asserts, American Airlines.
For Delta Operations Director John Lafter, “the concerns about aircraft safety are real.”
But there are solutions. We’ve seen that in other countries around the time of 5G’s rollout,” he confirmed during a congressional hearing.
On behalf of the companies, the union calls on the agency responsible for overseeing 5G deployment, the FCC and the FAA “to work together on a workable solution that enables the deployment of 5G technology while prioritizing security and avoiding any disruption to the aviation system,” a spokesperson said.
Verizon and AT&T proposed at the end of November to begin deploying 5G as planned in early January but also to take precautionary measures through July 2022 in addition to those already provided by law, while the FAA embarks on analytics.
The operators were initially scheduled to start using the 3.7-3.8 GHz frequency bands on December 5, which were allocated to them in February after a multi-billion dollar bid.
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