US airline CEOs warn of looming ‘catastrophic’ crisis over 5G

The chief executives of major passenger and cargo carriers in the United States on Monday warned of an impending “catastrophic” aviation crisis on Wednesday when AT&T and Verizon are set to deploy new 5G service.

The airlines warned the new C-Band 5G service could potentially make a significant number of wide-body aircraft unusable and “could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas.”

“Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded,” wrote the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and others.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned that potential interference could affect sensitive plane instruments such as altimeters and impact on low-visibility operations.

This means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions or delays,” it cautioned.

Action is urgent, added the letter also signed by UPS Airlines, Atlas Air, JetBlue Airways and FedEx Express. “To be blunt, the nation’s commerce will grind to a halt.”

The letter, which was seen by Reuters news agency, went to FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

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