Canadian regulators and airline executives are assessing the possible effects of 5G technology on “essential” aircraft technology, despite warnings from American aviation executives that deploying the technology under present laws may result in a “catastrophic” aviation disaster.

AT&T postponed plans to activate a limited number of 5G antennas near some U.S. airport runways on Tuesday. Following concerns from the CEOs of major U.S. airlines that the technology may interfere with essential aviation systems and cause “chaos” for planes landing at the impacted airports, the FAA approved the technology.

According to a Canadian government official, study is already ongoing to better understand the possible consequences of 5G on “critical” aviation technology, notably radio altimeters.

Radio altimeters are “crucial aeroplane avionics that calculate the distance between an aircraft and the ground,” according to the airline industry lobbying organisation Airlines 4 America.

The concern, according to the advocacy organisation, is that existing US guidelines enable telecoms companies to operate their 5G networks in a band on the radiofrequency spectrum that butts up against the range utilised by aircraft radio altimeters.

Effectively, airline executives in the United States argue the existing laws risk enabling interference on the frequencies used by pilots and aircraft equipment to determine their distance from the ground.

“Airplane manufacturers have advised us that large swathes of the operational fleet may need to be grounded forever.”

When contacted by Global News, Canadian airlines had various comments regarding whether they believe the 5G deployment in the United States will cause risks, and whether they are concerned about the technology’s potential spread by Canadian telecommunications firms.

The bulk of 5G spectrum in Canada is owned by Rogers, Bell, and Telus.

They are constructing their 5G networks with Nokia and Ericsson equipment.

“Indeed, interference from 5G wireless service is a problem for Transport Canada and all Canadian airlines,” said Pierre Tessier, an Air Transat official. “For the time being, we are studying the situation and consulting with all stakeholders in Canada who are affected by this problem.”

WestJet representative Denise Kenny stated that the company has been working with Transport Canada to “create many technical guidelines and preventive procedures to avoid potential interference to radio altimeters.”

“As a result, WestJet has not found any major risk to our operations as a result of the deployment of 5G across Canada,” Kenny wrote in an email.

“We continue to watch the 5G rollout in the United States, and given our flight frequency and destinations covered, we do not anticipate any substantial operational consequences to our passengers travelling to the United States at this time.” We anticipate, like other large airlines, that rare delays will occur during low-weather operations; but, as previously said, we believe these impacts to be modest.”

Air Canada stated that it is “closely monitoring” the situation in the United States.

“While we have protocols in place and employ aircraft types that assure safe operations,” stated a spokeswoman for the airline, “we are engaged on this topic as we continuously work with Canadian, U.S., and international agencies, as well as aircraft manufacturers, to further enhance safety.”

They forwarded any further inquiries to the US airline lobbying group.

On the same day, the Air Line Pilots Association International expressed alarm.

The organisation is the world’s biggest airline pilots association, representing over 61,000 pilots employed by US and Canadian airlines.

“Radar altimeter interference from 5G signals might result in loss of radar altitude information or, worse, inaccurate radar altitude information being generated unwittingly,” the group stated in a statement on Tuesday. “Fatal accidents have occurred as a result of inaccurate radar altitude, most recently Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 in Amsterdam in 2009.”

According to the pilot organisation, 5G signals in the United States “are at higher power levels than any other deployment now in use anywhere in the globe, as well as closer proximity to airports.”

In order to mitigate possible danger, Canada has already set restrictions on utilising the spectrum band in issue near 26 different domestic airports, according to the organisation.

Air Emirates has also cancelled flights into nine U.S. airports, citing worries over planned 5G deployments near certain airports.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *