Several other airlines have also opted to suspend or cancel flights entirely, with Emirates, Air India, Japan Airlines, and Korean Air fearing the new phone masts could affect the navigation systems of incoming planes.
Cancellations of flights from Heathrow to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco have already been announced. At present, airlines are attempting to deploy other aircraft such as the Airbus A380 to ensure people can still catch their flights as scheduled.
Safety is always our priority, Lauren. We are monitoring the situation in the US closely and awaiting further guidance ahead of reviewing our schedule in the next few hours. 1/2 if you have any questions
— British Airways (@British_Airways) January 19, 2022
The concern is that the activation of the C-band strand of the mobile phone service towers near American airports on Wednesday could disrupt aircraft navigation systems.
It is also thought that 5G technology may impact the Boeing 777, the best-selling long-haul widebody aeroplane ever, in particular.
BA said in a statement: “Safety is always our priority. We are monitoring the situation in the US closely and will continue to review our schedule in the next few hours.
“We’re disappointed that some of our customers are facing potential disruption and will update them as soon as possible on any changes to their travel plans.”
US mobile networks like AT&T and Verizon have said they will not turn on their new 5G cell towers until it is confirmed the signal will not interfere with aircrafts’ altimeters – the device used to measure a plane’s altitude and crucial for landing procedures.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said: “Because the proposed 5G deployment involves a new combination of power levels, frequencies, proximity to flight operations, and other factors, the FAA will need to impose restrictions on flight operations using certain types of radar altimeter equipment close to antennas in 5G networks.”
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