Did you knew there was a 5G airports security controversy ? The 5G security controversy at airports: why flights are being cancelled in the US, while in Spain there is no concern.

Airlines ' concern about 5G over the possibility that certain frequencies may cause interference in take-off and landing technology has truncated the plans of U.S. telecommunications operators.

Major operators have decided to delay the deployment of the new cellular technology near airports after airlines warned that this would be a "catastrophic disruption" to the aviation industry, although they will continue with their plans to deploy elsewhere.

"As the nation's leading wireless provider, we have voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports," Verizon said in a statement Tuesday.

"The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and our nation's airlines have not been able to fully resolve 5G navigation around airports, even though it is safe and fully operational in more than 40 other countries," the company adds.

5G airports security controversy

"Our sole discretion, we have voluntarily agreed to temporarily delay the ignition of a limited number of towers around certain runways of airports as we continue to work with the aviation industry and the FAA to provide more information about our deployment of 5G, as they have not used the 2 years that have had to plan responsibly for this deployment", specifies a spokesman for AT&T in a statement.

"We are frustrated by the FAA's inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to securely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge you to do so in a timely manner," the AT&T statement continues.

"We are launching our advanced 5G services in all other locations as planned, with the temporary exception of this limited number of towers," they say.

U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement Tuesday that this agreement will prevent potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations and the country's economic recovery.

"This agreement protects flight safety and allows aviation operations to continue without significant disruptions and will bring more high-speed Internet options to millions of Americans," he added.


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The US aviation industry comments 5G airports security controversy

The US aviation industry believes that the 5G radio spectrum between 3.7 GHz and 3.98 gigahertz (GHz) can fatally interfere with flight by distorting the reading of aircraft electronic altimeters (used to precisely know the height at which the aircraft are on the ground), which use frequency ranges between 4.2 GHz and 4.4 GHz.

According to the airlines, the space between the two frequencies (about 500 MHz) is insufficient to fully guarantee the safety of aircraft operations, since it could prohibit landings in low visibility conditions and create a cascade of delays, diversions, and cancellations.

Moreover, according to the Helicopter Association International, if the FAA considers altimeters unreliable, federal regulations will ban many emergency air ambulance flights.

For all these reasons, the air sector has mobilized to avoid the deployment of the so-called C-Band telephony in areas near airports.

Wireless service providers paid at least eighty-one billion dollars (about 71,000 euros) for disputed airwaves rights.

According to Orange, there would be no problem since aircraft radars work above 4.2 GHz while operators use frequencies below 3.8 GHz.

In addition, according to the company, there are so-called “guard bands” between frequency ranges dedicated to different services, which makes interference between them impossible.

AESA statement on 5G airports security controversy

For its part, the State Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) points out that in our country the band that was used was different than in other countries and there is no record of problems.

These same radio resources coexist in the two industries without apparent discomfort in several countries of the world, although the US air transport authorities do not think the same.

However, it was decided to publish a document in December 2020 to inform and to notify incidents.

On the other hand, they add, the European Union Agency (EASA) has reviewed the report of the Radiotechnical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA), considering both the specificity of the 5G frequency spectrum in Europe and the high intensity irradiated field rating (HIRF) of modern aircraft.

In addition, it is working with European aircraft and equipment manufacturers, the European Commission, Eurocontrol and aviation authorities to collect data and share information to assess risk and determine the need, if any, to mitigate risks.

Based on EASA's assessment of all the information that is currently available, it has considered that there is no immediate need for risk mitigation actions or for States to act, as confirmed by the agency to this medium.

"EASA will continue to collect specific data from aircraft and equipment manufacturers to enable a more detailed risk assessment," he adds.

In a letter sent Monday by the trade organization Airlines for America, the leaders of ten major American airlines warned of the consequences of such a deployment near airport runways.

"Every passenger and cargo carrier will have a challenging time getting people, shipments, planes and crews where they belong," says the letter. "To be frank, the nation's trade will come to a standstill," they say.

Signatories of the 5G airports security controversy memo include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, FedEx Express and UPS Airlines.

The letter was addressed to White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, FAA administrator Steve Dickson, and Federal Communications Commission President Jessica Rosenworcel.

These same bosses began a couple of weeks ago to mobilize public opinion by assuring that it could have dire consequences, such as the need to divert or cancel thousands of flights, which would displace millions of passengers.

And it did not take long to happen.

Late Tuesday, the FAA updated its recommendations on which airports and aircraft models are affected by the deployment following the agreement.

During the afternoon of Tuesday, were four airlines that announced that they cancel flights to the United States for this controversy: Emirates, Air India, All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines.

These last two indicated on Tuesday that Boeing had advised them not to operate the 777 in the US due to the deployment of the 5G.

Emirates has announced that they are suspending flights to nine airports in major cities in the North American country from January 19, 2022, and until further notice.

The same company will continue to operate with other airports and states that it is working in "close collaboration" with aircraft manufacturers and relevant authorities to "ease operational concerns".

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5G airports security controversy


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