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Monday, January 24, 2022

FAA details 50 airports that will have 5G buffer zones

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday revealed a list of 50 US airports that will have buffer zones when wireless carriers roll out new 5G C-band service on January 19. (George Frey, Reuters)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

WASHINGTON – The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday revealed a list of 50 US airports that will have buffer zones when wireless carriers roll out new 5G C-band service on January 19.

AT&T and Verizon on Monday agreed to buffer about 50 airports to reduce the risk of disruption from potential interference with sensitive airplane equipment like altimeters. They also agreed to delay the deployment for two weeks, avoiding the aviation security impasse.

The list includes airports in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Detroit, Dallas, Philadelphia, Seattle and Miami. Salt Lake City is not on the list.

The FAA said it “doesn’t necessarily mean” that low-visibility flights can’t take place at airports that aren’t among 50.

AT&T and Verizon, which won nearly all of its C-band spectrum in an auction last year for $80 billion, declined to comment.

On Thursday, the FAA warned that despite the agreement 5G wireless service could still disrupt flights, “even with temporary buffers around 50 airports, 5G deployments risk disruption during low visibility.” will increase” which includes “canceled flights, diverted flights”. and delays during periods of low visibility.”

Some major airports such as Denver, Atlanta and Ronald Reagan Washington are not on the National List because 5G is yet to be deployed, while others are not on the list because “the 5G towers are far enough away that a natural buffer exists.”

The FAA said that other airports not listed currently do not have the capability to allow low visibility landings. It said the delay would allow it to evaluate ways to minimize disruptions, and also give companies more time to prepare.

“If there is a potential for risk to the flying public, we are obliged to cease the activity until we can prove that it is safe,” the FAA said.

Kevin Burke, president and CEO of ACI-NA, which heads the consortium representing US and Canadian airports, said Friday that the FAA list is “largely irrelevant because of this poorly planned and coordinated expansion of 5G service.” The entire aviation system is going to be adversely affected, in and around airports.” “The so-called fix will create winners and losers within the airport community, and the entire aviation system will suffer under the terms of the deal,” he said.

Airlines for America, a trade group representing America’s passenger and cargo carriers, said it “appreciates the FAA’s efforts to implement mitigation for airports affected by disruptions resulting from the deployment of new 5G service.” may be most affected.”

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