Emirates resumes flights to US airports as fears over 5G rollout are eased

20 January 2022, 10:44

An Emirates Boeing 777
The airline Emirates has resumed flights to the United States after fears over the rollout of 5G were eased (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer). Picture: PA

The airline had cancelled flights after the Federal Aviation Administration warned that the mobile network could interfere with aircraft controls.

Long-haul carrier Emirates said on Thursday it would resume its Boeing 777 flights to the US after halting its use of the aircraft there over an ongoing dispute over the rollout of new 5G services in America.

International carriers that rely heavily on the wide-body Boeing 777, and other Boeing aircraft, cancelled early flights or switched to different planes on Wednesday following warnings from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Chicago-based plane-maker over possible interference from the new 5G signals with radio altimeters.

The FAA gave approval late on Wednesday for more types of planes to land in low visibility near 5G signals, including the Boeing 777.

Among the airlines most affected by the FAA decision was Dubai-based Emirates, a crucial East-West travel airline which flies only the 777 and the double-decker Airbus A380.

Emirates said its Boeing 777 service to Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Miami, Newark, Orlando and Seattle would resume on Friday.

Flights to Boston, Houston and San Francisco, which saw Emirates deploy its Airbus A380 jumbo jet, will resume Boeing 777 flights on Saturday.

Tim Clark, Emirates president, apologised in a statement to the airline’s customers for the disruption.

“Safety will always be our top priority, and we will never gamble on this front,” Clark said. “We welcome the latest development which enables us to resume essential transport links to the US to serve travellers and cargo shippers.”

He added: “However, we are also very aware that this is a temporary reprieve, and a long-term resolution would be required.”

Similar 5G mobile networks have been deployed in more than three dozen countries, but there are key differences in how the US networks are designed that raised concern of potential problems for airlines.

The Verizon and AT&T networks use a segment of the radio spectrum that is close to the one used by radio altimeters, devices that measure the height of aircraft above the ground to help pilots land in low visibility.

The Federal Communications Commission, which set a buffer between the frequencies used by 5G and altimeters, said the wireless service posed no risk to aviation.

But FAA officials saw a potential problem, and the telecom companies agreed to delay their rollout near more than 80 airports while the agency assesses which aircraft are safe to fly near 5G and which will need new altimeters.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

A mountain range near Pokhara, Nepal

Plane with 22 on board missing in Nepal’s mountains

Pope Francis delivers a prayer from a window overlooking St Peter's Square

Pope names 21 new cardinals

Protesters clash with security forces in Khartoum

UN envoy decries Sudan violence after two killed in protests

Russia Ukraine War

Russian troops storm city amid eastern Ukraine bombardments

Meghan Markle is thought to have reached out to her estranged father

Meghan Markle 'has reached out to father' days after he suffered stroke and lost speech

Young Jewish people wave Israeli flags near the Western Wall in Jerusalem

Visit to holy site by far-right Israeli politician sparks Jerusalem unrest

Shoppers in a reopened mall in Beijing

Beijing and Shanghai ease Covid restrictions as outbreaks fade

Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro

Colombians to vote for president amid widespread discontent

Rescuers look out of the windows of a helicopter

25 missing after cargo boat sinks in Indonesia

Nigeria Church Stampede

31 dead in church fair stampede in Nigeria

Russia Ukraine War

Russia takes small cities as it aims to widen battle in east Ukraine

Iran accused of piracy for seizing two Greek oil tankers

Fears oil price will rise again after Iran accused of piracy for seizing Greek oil tankers

Building Collapse-Florida

Judge in US gives initial OK to a billion-dollar deal in Florida condo collapse

Cardinal Angelo Sodano

Powerful Vatican prelate Cardinal Angelo Sodano dies aged 94

Donald Trump

Senior Republicans’ claims at NRA rally called into question

Iranian collapse

Iranian police disperse crowd gathered at collapsed building