FAA Releases List of 5G-buffered Airports

 - January 8, 2022, 11:34 AM
New Jersey's Teterboro Airport, perennially the busiest business aviation airport pre-pandemic, is on the FAA's list of 50 airports that will will have buffer zones when wireless companies turn on new 5G C-band service on January 19. 5G tranmissions have the potential to interfere with aircraft radio altimeters, which prompted the FAA and other aviation interests to seek 5G-buffered zones around airports.

On Friday, the FAA released the list of 50 airports that will have buffer zones when wireless companies turn on new 5G C-band service on January 19. In a statement the agency said many airports are not currently affected by the new 5G deployment and were thus omitted from the list of 5G-buffered airports. "These include airports not in the 46 markets where the new service will be deployed and airports that do not currently have the ability to allow low-visibility landings,” the FAA added.

The FAA said it will continue to “work with the aerospace manufacturers and wireless companies to make sure 5G is safely deployed and to limit the risk of flight disruptions at all airports.” After intense negotiations earlier this week, AT&T and Verizon agreed to turn off transmitters and make other adjustments at airports on the list for six months to minimize the potential for C-band interference with aircraft radar altimeters. 

Release of the list was praised by airline interests, including National Air Carrier Association (NACA) president and CEO George Novak. “NACA’s airlines look forward to continue working collaboratively with the FAA, manufacturers, and telecom companies," he said, "to ensure that the first phase of 5G C-band deployment does not result in significant operational disruptions and that all segments of the industry have input into the process as we move forward.”