- Air India has cancelled 14 flights on India-US routes from Wednesday.
- Apart from Air India, Emirates and other major international airlines have also canceled US flights.
- This is done due to the deployment of 5G internet in North America.
Air India Airlines have canceled 14 flights on India-US routes from Wednesday onwards due to the deployment of 5G internet in North America which could interfere with aircraft’s navigation systems. Accordingly, the airline informed passengers via its official Twitter handle that it will not be able to operate the Delhi-JFK-Delhi and Mumbai-EWR-Mumbai flights.
Air India flights that have been canceled today were: Delhi-New York, New York-Delhi, Delhi-Chicago, Chicago-Delhi, Delhi- San Francisco, San Francisco-Delhi, Delhi-Newark, and Newark-Delhi. Later during the day, Air India officials said that a total of six India-US flights scheduled to operate on Thursday have been cancelled too. The six flights — scheduled to operate on Thursday but cancelled — are Delhi-Chicago, Chicago-Delhi, Delhi- San Francisco, San Francisco-Delhi, Delhi-Newark, and Newark-Delhi.
Meanwhile, DGCA chief Arun Kumar told news agency PTI that the Indian aviation regulator was working “in close coordination with our carriers to overcome the situation” that has arisen due to 5G internet’s deployment in the US.
US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had on January 14 said that “5G interference with the aircraft’s radio altimeter could prevent engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode, which could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway”.
Several countries canceling flights bound to-fro US
Not just Air India, or just Indian airlines, but major international airlines canceled flights heading to the U.S. or changed the planes they’re using today due to similar concerns rising due to the deployment of 5G mobile phone service. Some airlines said they were warned that the Boeing 777, a plane used by carriers worldwide, was particularly affected by the new high-speed wireless service.
An altimeter measures the height of the aircraft above the ground. The band on which altimeter works is close to that on which the 5G system works. Total three carriers — American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Air India — currently operate direct flights between India and the US.
What is the problem with deployment of 5G services?
The 5G service uses a segment of the radio spectrum that is close to that used by radio altimeters, which are devices that measure the height of aircraft above the ground and help pilots land in low visibility. The FCC, which set a buffer between the 5G band and the spectrum that planes use, determined that it could be used safely in the vicinity of air traffic. AT&T and Verizon have said their equipment will not interfere with aircraft electronics, news agency AP reported on Wednesday.
Of particular concern appears to be the Boeing 777. Emirates only flies that model and the Airbus A380 jumbo jet.
(With inputs from agencies)