ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Leaders at the nation’s top airlines are warning of a “catastrophic” impact on flights this week in the United States.
The warning was issued in the form of a letter addressed to the federal government, and signed by CEOs of the country’s top airlines, including American, Delta and United Airlines.
After a delay of AT&T and Verizon’s 5G rollout, the FAA said it has cleared 45% of the nation’s commercial airline fleet to navigate near 5G receivers.
Shem Malmquist, an instructor at the Florida Institute of Technology said he’s concerned that it’s still unknown how hundreds of airplanes’ software will react to the network.
“A faulty radar altimeter can absolutely lead to an accident,” Malmquist said. “There’s no way to predict exactly what it will do because we just don’t know.”
Malmquist said airplane altimeters were first installed in the 1960′s. He said altimeters help pilots better determine their distance to the ground when landing. He said oftentimes, it’s most convenient during low visibility landings.
“When you are coming down and landing an airplane, and your eyes are 30-35 feet off the ground, judging that precisely is very very difficult,” Malmquist said.
In a letter issued by Airlines for America, the commercial flying industry is calling for a longer delay of the 5G rollout:
”Until the FAA can determine how that can be safely accomplished without catastrophic disruptions,” the letter reads.
The letter also warns as many as 1,100 flights could be canceled each day, consisting of about 100,000 passengers stranded every 24 hours.
Since the FAA has cleared 45% of the commercial fleet in the US for the 5G rollout, Malmquist said he’s concerned about how safety software on planes reacts to a 5G network nearby.
UPS and FedEx also say critical vaccine supply and medical equipment could be delayed if the 5G network is in close proximity.