FAA Selects Airports for 5G Buffer Zones

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Zone aims to reduce flight disruption by new wireless signals and isolating aircraft

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The FAA, which manages US civilian airspace, is preparing to issue a flight ban to address concerns that the new 5G service could go live on January 19, possibly interfering with aircraft security systems near airports. can do Industry and government officials have said the flight limits, expected to be released as of next week, could lead to some cancellations and delays due to inclement weather.

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Buffer-zone locations, detailed by the agency on Friday, are also slated for cargo hubs such as airports in Indianapolis. Teterboro in northern New Jersey, a hub for private jets, made the cut, in addition to New York City’s major airports.

In selecting airports, the agency said it considers factors such as their traffic volume, locations and the number of days with low visibility. The agency said it continues to work with aerospace manufacturers and wireless companies “to ensure that 5G is safely deployed and limits the risk of flight disruption at all airports.”

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US wireless officials have refuted claims that the new 5G signals pose any security risk to aircraft, but acknowledged the need to avoid disrupting air traffic.

A spokeswoman for Airlines for America, which represents major US passenger and cargo carriers, said the group appreciated the FAA’s work to reduce 5G disruptions at airports. He declined to comment about specific airports that did not make the list.

The FAA said some airports in Atlanta, such as Hartsfield-Jackson, are not on the list because they are in areas where new 5G service is not rolling out.

Other major airports, including Boston, Portland, Ore., and Salt Lake City, did not make the final list. The FAA stated that “5G towers are far enough away that a natural buffer exists at some airports”. An agency spokesperson declined to address specific airports.

Kevin Burke, chief executive of airport trade group Airports Council International-North America, said the FAA’s list was largely irrelevant. “This so-called fix will create winners and losers within the airport community, and the entire aviation system will suffer,” Burke said.

On January 3, after talks with federal transportation officials, AT&T Inc.

and Verizon Communications Inc.,

agreed to further delay the rollout of its new, faster 5G service in the spectrum range known as C-band until January 19.

Wireless carriers also agreed to limit their signals to about 50 airports for six months, while the FAA works with aerospace manufacturers and airlines to verify that their aircraft are safely with the new cell service. could work.

The FAA is concerned about potential 5G interference with the radar altimeter, which measures the distance between the aircraft and the ground. These instruments feed data to major cockpit systems that help planes land in inclement weather and otherwise prevent accidents.

“As tests prove that some altimeters are safe, the FAA will be able to remove some restrictions on operating aircraft with those altimeters,” the agency said on its website. “The disruption risk will gradually decrease as more altimeters are tested and considered either safe, retrofitted or replaced.”

American Airlines has been facing other operational challenges from the recent winter weather and COVID-related staff shortages.

Write Andrew Tangel [email protected] . Feather

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