Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the administrator for the Federal Aviation Administration sent a letter addressed to Verizon and AT&T requesting that they delay their rollout of 5G services amid airlines’ concerns over flight disruptions. The FAA and the aviation industry will identify priority airports where a buffer zone would permit aviation operations to continue safely while the FAA completes its assessments of the interference potential around those airports. The letter comes one day after Airlines for America, an airlines trade group, expressed concerns over AT&T’s and Verizon’s 5G rollout, which is expected to start on Jan. 5, fearing thousands of flights could be disrupted. Numerous U.S. airports including ones in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Boston and Seattle were listed as critical. They have raised significant concerns that 5G might interfere with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters. The group warned it will “seek judicial or other relief” to avoid “immediate and unacceptable safety risks.”
Airlines for America, which represents American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, FedEx and other major carriers, said it wants the FCC and FAA “to work together on a practical solution.” „Years of research by the government and private industry has proven that 5G and aviation can safely coexist, just as it does in over 40 other nations. There is absolutely no reason why there should or will be any difference in the U.S. Assertions to the contrary are baseless and make absolutely no sense,” Verizon said in a statement.