Aviation Groups Ask White House to Intervene on 5G Standoff
(Bloomberg) -- Aviation trade groups have asked the White House to intervene in the standoff between airlines and telecommunications companies over a planned expansion of 5G service.
“We respectfully call on President Biden to intervene and delay the full implementation of C-band 5G until proper risk assessments have taken place and crewmembers are fully briefed as to the extent of the disruptions,” said the groups in a statement Monday sent by the Aerospace Industries Association.
The 10 groups, representing aircraft owners and pilots, helicopter operators, airports and small passenger carriers, said time has run out for agreement to mitigate the risks of new wireless service on the so-called C-band of spectrum.
The expanded 5G service on signals that are near those used by aircraft equipment are set to switch on Jan. 5. The Federal Aviation Administration has said it may have to require widespread flight restrictions if efforts to reach compromise fail. The Federal Communications Commission and wireless companies say that there is no risk to safety.
White House representatives didn’t immediately respond to request for comment on the aviation groups’ statement.
The latest statement by aviation groups follows a letter sent Monday to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel by the the Air Line Pilots Association also asking for a delay in the service.
The association, which represents more than 60,000 pilots in North America, said that it has repeatedly requested technical information to support the agency’s decision to approve the new use of the frequencies by wireless companies.
“To date, the FCC has ignored our requests,” ALPA President Captain Joseph DePete wrote.
He was joined later Monday by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA in a joint statement.
“This is deeply irresponsible and unnecessary,” Sara Nelson, head of the flight attendants group said in the statement. “Aviation operations are already stretched to a breaking point by the ongoing pandemic. Adding strain and creating potentially dangerous conditions will only make a bad situation worse.”
The FCC didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Airlines for America said in a statement Sunday that “Without appropriate mitigations, the 5G deployment around airports could disrupt as many as 345,000 passenger flights -- impacting 32 million travelers -- in addition to 5,400 cargo flights each year in the form of delays, diversions or cancellations.”
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