The travel plans of thousands of passengers, including those traveling to India, have been disrupted after airlines canceled or reduced some flights to and from the United States due to the question of the deployment of the new 5G service, which is expected to start from Wednesday.
Several international airlines, including Air India, have announced they will cancel flights to the United States, warning that signals from new 5G phone service could interfere with aircraft navigation systems.
On January 14, the US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that “5G interference with the aircraft’s radio altimeter could prevent the engine and braking systems from entering landing mode, which could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway”.
The C-band service, which offers faster speeds and wider coverage, was to be activated from Wednesday.
Air India tweeted on Tuesday that due to the deployment of 5G communications in the United States, “our operations to the United States from India are reduced/revised with a change in aircraft type from 19th January 2022” . The airline said in another tweet that due to the deployment of 5G communications in the United States, it “will not be able to operate” flights on January 19 on the Delhi-JFK-Delhi, Delhi-San Francisco-Delhi routes. , Delhi-Chicago. -Delhi and Mumbai-Newark-Mumbai. The flight from Delhi to Washington DC on January 19 will operate as per schedule.
Apart from Air India, several other airlines have announced that they are canceling flights to the United States due to the issue of 5G service rollout.
Emirates said that due to “operational concerns” associated with the planned rollout of 5G mobile network services in the United States at certain airports, it will suspend flights from January 19 until further notice to Boston, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco and Seattle.
Delta said the telecommunications companies agreed on Tuesday to limit the scope of the planned 5G rollout on Wednesday and will delay implementation around some US airports. “While this is a positive development to prevent widespread disruption to flight operations, some flight restrictions may remain,” said Delta, which joined other airlines in calling for a delay. by the US government of rolling out new 5G coverage in the C-band spectrum until there are more protections and assurances against potential interference with aircraft radio altimeters. “Radio altimeters are a critical piece of technology that informs many aircraft functions and gives pilots what they need to fly aircraft safely, especially during critical phases of flight.” The airline said the impact on air travel could be immediate and significant, directly affecting passenger travel and cargo transportation.
“The country’s commerce will come to a standstill,” the CEOs of major carriers, including Delta CEO Ed Bastian, wrote in a letter coordinated by Airlines for America to government officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the President. of the Federal Communications Commission.
Meanwhile, telecommunications companies AT&T and Verizon both announced on Tuesday that they would delay the activation of 5G on certain towers around certain airports.
Sudden flight cancellations have disrupted the travel plans of thousands of passengers who have been left behind with little information about when flights will resume.
Jayant Raj had packed his bags and was ready to board the Air India flight from New York’s JFK International Airport to New Delhi on Wednesday, which has now been cancelled. He said he first learned of the flight cancellation on Tuesday afternoon through a tweet from Air India.
“I was traveling to India after four years and counting the days to meet my parents and family. First, the COVID pandemic reduced travel for almost two years and now there is this new problem,” he said. he declares. “Travelling has now become very nerve-wracking and taxing. ”With the uncertainty over the resumption of the flight from JFK to Delhi, Raj decided to take the Air India flight from Washington, which is still operational and departs on Wednesday morning.
“I will be traveling to Washington from New York by train and trying to see if I can get a ticket on the flight. This last minute cancellation and disruption is stressful, but I have to try my luck. If I can get a seat on the flight, that extra 5 hour hassle of overnight travel to Washington will be worth it,” he said.
Priyanka Seth, another passenger whose flight was canceled due to the 5G issue, said she was traveling to Mumbai and was looking forward to meeting her parents after almost five years.
“The pandemic as it is has made travel very stressful. Added problems caused by such last minute cancellations leave so many people embarrassed,” Seth said.
Seth said she was looking for other flight options to Mumbai, but buying a ticket wasn’t the only hurdle. “I have already passed the 72-hour RT-PCR test required for travel to India. If I cannot board a flight to Mumbai by Wednesday, my current RT-PCR report will be invalid and I will have to undertake another test I don’t know if I will receive my test report in time to board the next available flight,” she said, adding that she also had to change her connecting flight from Mumbai to Hyderabad.
Seth, who has two young children, was traveling alone and said she could only imagine how difficult it must be for parents traveling with young children or elderly people traveling alone amid such disruption and uncertainty. New York-based social activist Prem Bhandari said that while Air India’s local staff at JFK and Newark airports have been very helpful and have done a “commendable job during this pandemic”, the airline’s management could have handled the current situation caused by the 5G issue more effectively.
“I know people who have traveled by road/air to get a connection from Delhi to New York. Passengers waited at the airport for over two hours before being informed that the flight was cancelled. They should have been informed not possible the flight was canceled at the last minute,” he said, adding that the airlines would have known there could be disruptions and should have warned passengers well in advance. .
“I am inundated with calls from people asking when flights will resume. Those traveling on January 19 are now blocked. Others traveling in the days and weeks ahead are worried about the uncertainty caused by the suspension of flights,” Bhandari, who is also the chairman of REDIO – Rescueing Every Distressed Indian Overseas, said.
US mobile networks AT&T and Verizon have agreed to postpone the rollout of their new 5G service at some airports, according to US media.
“We are frustrated with the FAA’s failure to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it to do so quickly,” quoted Megan Ketterer, spokesperson for AT&T, quoted by CNN. as told.
The Biden administration welcomed the delay, saying “the agreement will avoid potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations, and our economic recovery while allowing more than 90% of the wireless tower deployment to continue.” happen as planned”.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)