After the rollout of 5G wireless networks in the United States, India has cancelled eight Air India flights to and from the US.
“Due to deployment of the 5G communications in the USA, we will not be able to operate the following flights of January 19, 2022,” Air India said.
India’s aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is monitoring the situation very closely. DGCA chief Arun Kumar told ANI, “Indian aviation regulator is working in close coordination with our carriers to deal with the current (5G) situation.”
Airlines from worldwide raised the concern over safety. Emirates, Japan Airlines, Air India and All Nippon Airways have cancelled most flights to the United States amid concerns over the deployment of new 5G wireless networks.
Singapore Airlines has already changed the type of aircraft for the US on Wednesday.
“From January 19, flights SQ12 and SQ11 between Singapore and Los Angeles via Tokyo (Narita) will be operated by the Airbus A350-900, instead of the Boeing 777-300ER,” Singapore Airlines spokesperson told ANI.
US-based Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also raised safety concerns while operating aircraft in between 5G high-speed Internet communications in the country.
“With safety as its core mission, the FAA will continue to ensure that the travelling public is safe as wireless companies deploy 5G. The FAA continues to work with the aviation industry and wireless companies to try to limit 5G-related flight delays and cancellations,” reads the FAA statement on January 17.
Recently, the Federation of Indian Pilots (FIP), with a strength of 6,000 pilots, has expressed concern over possible interference of 5G wireless signals with sensitive aircraft equipment such as radio altitude meters, threatening aviation safety.
“It is important to fully understand and reduce potential 5G signal interference with radio altimeters that are integral to aircraft security systems. We understand that the activation of these services is a part of India’s select Coming soon in cities,” reads the January 4 FIP letter.
Further FIP mentioned in the letter that if 5G deploys pilots may face safety issues while operating flights. “5G signals could interfere with the Radio Altimeters that airliners, bizjets and general aviation aircraft rely on low altitude flight that it issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) on the ‘Risk of Potential Adverse Effects on Radio Altimeters’ of 5G deployment. In response, the largest network carriers in the US, including Verizon and AT&T agreed to temporarily pause the advent of 5G service to allow the FAA more time to address concerns about interference,” the FIP letter reads.
Possibly Indian carriers are waiting for assurance before the operation from US-based federal aviation administration and aircraft manufacturer Boeing. However, Boeing declined to comment on the 5G issues.