Flights to and from the United States were canceled on Wednesday, even after AT&T and Verizon pulled back some of their planned 5G service rollouts around airports. By the evening, about 2% of all flights in the United States were canceled, delayed, or in some way affected by these 5G problems. This latest news comes after airlines asked the government to get involved with the 5G rollout, explaining that the 5G service could interfere with aircraft technology. While both AT&T and Verizon responded by halting many plans, this has still led to flight cancellations by many airline companies.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, this new 5G service uses a segment of radio spectrum that is similar to what is used by radio altimeters, which helps measure where a flight is in regards to the ground. This helps pilots land planes where there is low visibility. If this new 5G service interacts with this, then troubles could persist in very dangerous ways.
It also appears that only certain planes are impacted by this — most notably the Boeing 777. Other large, wide-body Boeing aircrafts also seem to be affected. Meanwhile, Airbus jets don’t appear to be impacted in any significant way. As a result, many airline companies that utilize Boeing jets have canceled or delayed flights on Wednesday, though plan to continue on by using another aircraft to keep flights running as much as possible.
Because AT&T and Verizon agreed to reduce the rollout of their 5G service, many flights were saved from having to be canceled or delayed. Compared to the many flights that were delayed around the Christmas Eve and New Year holidays, only a small amount of flights are being impacted by this latest problem. However, many airline officials and experts feel that more communication between the government and 5G businesses could’ve helped solve this issue well before this ever happened, which would’ve potentially led to no flights being canceled.
This latest news comes after the mass amount of flights that were canceled or delayed in December around the holidays because of the highly contagious spread of the Omicron variant. Airlines in the United States and around the world struggled to do business as many of their employees had to call out after being infected with the virus. This news also comes amid a time when airline companies in the United States are still struggling to recover from the many problems they faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, flights were at a low because of fear of traveling during a pandemic, as well as because of many national and international travel restrictions. While there are still many restrictions and regulations still in place (especially when it comes to international travel), airlines have worked hard to become reliable for travelers once again in 2021. However, flight cancellations have become a huge issue in the country, especially because of the ongoing labor shortage and the fluid pandemic which continues to cause infections to surge around the country.