The new 5G network uses a segment of the radio spectrum that is close to that used by radio altimeters, which measure the height of aircraft above the ground and help pilots land in low visibility. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which sets a buffer between the frequency that 5G uses and the one that altimeters use, determined that it could be used safely in the vicinity of air traffic.
Major international airlines canceled flights heading to the U.S. or changed the planes they’re using Wednesday, the latest complication in a dispute over concerns that new 5G mobile phone service could interfere with aircraft technology, AP reports.
Carriers took widely different approaches to the brewing crisis affecting international travel, from Middle Eastern airline Emirates drastically reducing its U.S.-bound flights to Air France saying it would fly as normal.
It wasn’t immediately clear why the airlines made those decisions — or whether they took into account that mobile carriers AT&T and Verizon agreed this week to pause the rollout of the new high-speed wireless service near key airports.
U.S. officials had said that even with the concession, there could be some cancellations and delays because of limitations of equipment on certain planes. Some airlines said Wednesday they received warnings from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration or Boeing that the plane maker’s 777 was particularly affected by the new wireless service.
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