FAA reveals 50 airports will have C band 5G buffer zones

When AT&T and Verizon C band 5G service Coming into operation on January 19, they will deploy buffer zones around 50 airports in the US to reduce the risk of flight disruption. The Federal Aviation Administration has rescue One list (PDF) of the 50 airports the airline has selected, including major passenger hubs such as Chicago O’Hare International, Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles Int’l. As The Wall Street Journal note, it also includes airports in foggy and cloudy locations like Seattle-Tacoma International, as well as cargo hubs like Indianapolis Int’l.

Carriers were supposed to roll out their 5G service using their newly purchased frequencies on January 5, but they agree to comply with a request by the FAA and the Department of Transportation to push back their expansion by two weeks. Authorities plan to use more time to investigate concerns that the new frequency is too close to that used by the plane’s radar altimeter. Instruments measure the distance between the aircraft and the ground to help the aircraft land in low visibility and poor weather conditions. Wireless companies deny that using C-band frequencies for 5G will disrupt airline operations.

The FAA said Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and some of the busiest airports in the US were not on the list, because they are not near areas where new 5G services are deployed. Meanwhile, other major airports are also not included as they are considered far enough away from the nearest 5G towers.

Airlines for America, the association representing major airlines in North America, said Reuters and Post in a statement that it appreciated “the FAA’s efforts to implement mitigation measures for airports that may be most impacted by disruptions due to the rollout of new 5G services.” However, Kevin Burke, CEO of airport trade group Airports Council International-North America, is not so pleased. The list is “largely irrelevant as the entire aviation system is about to be negatively impacted by a poorly planned and coordinated expansion of 5G services in and around airports,” Burke said.

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