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5G rollout: FAA allows 78% of US commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landing

Air India on Thursday said that its Boeing 777 aircraft has been cleared to fly to America, having cancelled at least 14 flights between India and US a day earlier. (Photo: Reuters)Premium
Air India on Thursday said that its Boeing 777 aircraft has been cleared to fly to America, having cancelled at least 14 flights between India and US a day earlier. (Photo: Reuters)

  • The FAA had earlier warned that the 5G rollout could interfere with cockpit instruments such as altimeters as the C Band (3.7GHz- 3.98Ghz) for 5G services and the altimeters (4.2-4.4 GHz ) operated at similar frequency

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NEW DELHI: The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has allowed an estimated 78% of the country’s commercial fleet to make low-visibility landings at airports where telecom companies have deployed 5G C-band wireless.

“Airplane models with one of the 13 cleared altimeters include all Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787, MD-10/-11; all Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380 models; and some Embraer 170 and 190 regional jets," the US civil aviation regulator said in a statement on Friday.

“We anticipate some altimeters will be too susceptible to 5G interference. To preserve safety, aircraft with those altimeters will be prohibited from performing low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed because the altimeter could provide inaccurate information," it added.

The FAA had earlier warned that the roll-out of 5G wireless could interfere with cockpit instruments such as altimeters as the C Band (3.7GHz- 3.98Ghz) for 5G services and the altimeters (4.2-4.4 GHz) operate at the same frequency. The regulator’s move primarily affected operations of Boeing Co. 777 and 747 jetliners, while the FAA asked Boeing 787 operators to take “additional precautions" while landing on wet runways.

Altimeters are key for landing aircraft safely during bad weather conditions when visual approach is difficult to obtain. Thus, the roll-out of 5G in the US from Wednesday disrupted several flights to the US, including those of national carrier Air India.

Air India, which cancelled at least 14 flights between India and US on Wednesday, however, said on Thursday that its Boeing 777 planes have been cleared for flights to the US. The airline on Friday resumed normal flight services under an existing air bubble pact between India and the US. Air India operates 24 flights per week to the US.

As things stand, India has extended a prolonged suspension of scheduled international flights at least till the end of February. A bilateral air bubble allows flights between India and other nations with preconditions during the pandemic.

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