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Fri, Jan 21, 2022

ALPA Issues Statement on 5G Delay

'Passengers Deserve a Commitment from the Telecom Companies Not to Launch 5G Near Airports Until a Permanent Fix is Found'

Capt. Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, made a statement in reference to the recent postponement of AT&T and Verizon's 5G network rollout.

The issue has been a running dispute, with 2 of the biggest cell carriers scaling back deployment of their shiny new (and terribly expensive) toy in the hopes of maintaining high standards of aviation safety. The companies have given face to the FAA and industry bodies by complying with their terms, from postponing of network activation from December to Early January, then mid-January again.

The latest deadline was the 19th, wherein some of the 46-50 limited initial markets saw 5G activation, with special buffer zones carved out around airport areas in case of altimeter interference during landing operations. DePete reminds the industry that the issue of possible interference between communications and aircraft equipment has been known for years, but concerns have "been ignored by the Federal Communications Commission". 

“While AT&T and Verizon’s announcement of a delay at certain airports acknowledges the seriousness of the aviation safety and operational risks, airline passengers and shippers deserve a commitment from the telecom companies not to launch the new 5G service at any of the airport locations identified by the FAA as being susceptible to 5G interference until a permanent fix is found.

For years, the aviation community has been raising red flags about 5G interference with aircraft safety instruments—concerns that have been ignored by the Federal Communications Commission and the telecom companies, creating the mess we’re in today. The United States has the safest air transportation system in the world, and our trained-for-life pilots plan to keep it that way. But this is no way to protect that safety record and America’s vital aviation industry, which is so critical to our nation’s economy and the global supply chain.”



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