Coalition Predicts 'Significant' Delays from 5G C-Band

 - December 9, 2021, 11:28 AM

A coalition of diverse aviation groups yesterday predicted “significant disruptions to the National Airspace System due to the rollout of 5G technologies in the C-band unless the FCC acts to mitigate the concerns.” The reaction comes one day after the FAA issued a pair of airworthiness directives that would ban certain aircraft operations linked to aircraft radar altimeters in areas of likely or demonstrated 5G C-band interference.

Currently, 5G C-band frequencies are scheduled to be activated on January 5. The coalition called for this date to be delayed to enable the further technical study of the issue.  

In a joint statement issued by the Aerospace Industries Association, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Airlines for America (A4A), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), NBAA, Regional Airline Association (RAA), National Air Carrier Association (NACA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry groups foresee “delayed and canceled passenger flights; delayed air cargo shipments; significant schedule disruptions; and the inability for first responders, military, and law enforcement to fly helicopter missions."

“Our coalition continues to call for a long-term solution that will protect the flying public by ensuring radio altimeters operate accurately while allowing 5G to roll out safely,” the group said. “The goal is to avoid disruptions to aviation operations."

Last month, AT&T and Verizon proposed to modestly reduce their 5G power levels in C-band at an undefined number of airports for six months. "While appreciated, the mitigations proposed by AT&T and Verizon are inadequate and far too narrow to ensure the safety and economic vitality of the aviation industry and the millions of people traveling by air each year. It is clear we need to get this balance right. We strongly urge a further delay in 5G deployment for the data sharing and consultations necessary to create a win-win situation for both industries. The aviation industry has brought forward sensible mitigation strategies that should have the appropriate time to be considered and implemented.”