New Delhi, Jan 20: Air India said it has decided to cancel eight flights on US routes due to the rollout of 5G mobile service in the US. This comes as the rollout of 5G mobile service in the US could potentially interfere with aircraft navigation systems. With this, several global airlines are now rescheduling their flights.
Air India said on Twitter that “due to deployment of the 5G communications in the US”, on Wednesday, it will not operate eight of its flights on the Delhi-New York, Delhi-Chicago, Delhi-San Francisco sectors. Besides Air India, American Airlines and Delta Airlines currently operate direct flights between India and the US.
According to the reports, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is learnt to be coordinating with Indian carriers on the issue, which stems from a warning issued by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on January 14 that the new 5G technology being rolled out in the US from Wednesday could potentially lead to interference with on-board instruments such as radar altimeters.
However, US authorities have approved Air India to resume B777 operations in country from today. Air India has confirmed that Boeing has cleared the airline to operate on the B777. The first flight took off this morning to JFK airport. Other flights scheduled throughout the day are to Chicago and San Fransisco.
Now, Air India joined at least nine other international airlines that modified or cancelled flights to the US amid conflicting reports on what new 5G cell phone services can do to critical aeroplane technologies.
US-based Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also raised safety concerns while operating aircraft in between 5G high-speed Internet communications in the country. "With safety as its core mission, the FAA will continue to ensure that the travelling public is safe as wireless companies deploy 5G. The FAA continues to work with the aviation industry and wireless companies to try to limit 5G-related flight delays and cancellations," reads the FAA statement on January 17.
Recently, the Federation of Indian Pilots (FIP), with a strength of 6,000 pilots, has expressed concern over possible interference of 5G wireless signals with sensitive aircraft equipment such as radio altitude meters, threatening aviation safety.
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"It is important to fully understand and reduce potential 5G signal interference with radio altimeters that are integral to aircraft security systems. We understand that the activation of these services is a part of India's select Coming soon in cities," reads the January 4 FIP letter. Further FIP mentioned in the letter that if 5G deploys pilots may face safety issues while operating flights.
"5G signals could interfere with the Radio Altimeters that airliners, bizjets and general aviation aircraft rely on low altitude flight that it issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) on the 'Risk of Potential Adverse Effects on Radio Altimeters' of 5G deployment. In response, the largest network carriers in the US, including Verizon and AT&T agreed to temporarily pause the advent of 5G service to allow the FAA more time to address concerns about interference," the FIP letter reads.