Boeing and Airbus want the US to delay its 5G rollout because they're worried about interference with aircraft electronics

·2 min read
Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-8 aircraft
A Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-8 aircraft.Singapore Airlines
  • The CEOs of Boeing and Airbus wrote to Pete Buttigieg Monday asking him to delay the rollout of 5G.

  • AT&T and Verizon are due to start rolling out their 5G services on January 5.

  • The two chief executives said 5G interference could affect planes' ability to fly safely.

Chief executives at Boeing and Airbus, the two largest airplane makers in the world, have written to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg asking him to delay the rollout of 5G services for phones.

In the letter seen by Reuters, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun and Airbus Americas CEO Jeffrey Knittel asked Buttigieg to postpone the planned January 5 deployment of AT&T and Verizon's 5G services in the US.

"5G interference could adversely affect the ability of aircraft to safely operate," the letter said, adding it could have an "enormous negative impact on the aviation industry."

AT&T and Verizon were scheduled to roll out their C-band 5G services in November, but delayed the rollout until the January 5 date following airplane safety concerns voiced by the Federal Aviation Authority. The FAA said in November that 5G deployment could potentially cause interference with altimeters on airplanes, used to measure the altitude of aircrafts.

A Boeing spokesperson told Insider: "The aerospace industry is focused on fully evaluating and addressing the potential for 5G interference with radio altimeters. We are collaborating with aviation authorities, government leaders, airlines, and industry groups to ensure the continued operational safety of aircraft throughout the aviation system worldwide."

The FAA issued an order earlier this month detailing potential restrictions on using systems commonly deployed for landing in bad weather due to concerns around 5G interference, The Wall Street Journal reported.

AT&T and Verizon did not immediately reply when contacted by Insider for comment.

A spokesman for a telecoms industry group has previously said concerns around 5G and airplane equipment are overblown.

"The aviation industry's fearmongering relies on completely discredited information and deliberate distortions of fact," Nick Ludlum, a spokesman for the wireless industry group CTIA, told The Wall Street Journal earlier this month.

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