Aviation, Wireless Groups Pledge Cooperation on 5G C-band

 - December 23, 2021, 12:47 PM

Three lead groups from the wireless and aviation industries pledged technical cooperation with regard to potential safety concerns over cellular 5G C-band frequencies and radio altimeter interference on aircraft. However, none of these groups could provide AIN any information on what form this cooperation would take or any related timelines. 

The short statement, from wireless industry group CTIA, the Aerospace Industries Association, and Airlines for America, read: “We are pleased that after productive discussions we will be working together to share the available data from all parties to identify the specific areas of concern for aviation. The best technical experts from across both industries will be working collectively to identify a path forward, in coordination with the FAA and FCC.

“Our belief is that by working collaboratively in good faith on a data-driven solution, we can achieve our shared goal of deploying 5G while preserving aviation safety."

The statement appeared to be prompted by extensive media coverage of the release of a rare joint letter on Monday from the CEOs of Airbus and Boeing that called on the Biden Administration to delay implementation of 5G C-band, slated for January 5, and urged adoption of an industry drafted aviation safety proposal that would limit 5G C-band transmissions “around airports and where radio altimeters are critical to the safe operations of aircraft.”

Rollout of 5G C-band continues to stoke concern after the FAA issued a pair of airworthiness directives (ADs) earlier this month that require limiting aircraft operations in areas of actual or potential radio altimeter interference. Citing data from Airlines for America, the CEOs warned that the ADs had the potential to rain down chaos on domestic air transport, including delay, diversion, or cancellation of up to 345,000 passenger flights and 5,400 air cargo flights impacting 32 million passengers and causing $3.7 billion in immediate economic costs to airlines, cargo operators, employees, and passengers.

The FAA is preparing notams that industry leaders hope will specify and limit the areas that will need the limitations.