'No incidents' of 5G interference with aircraft in EU  

'No incidents' of 5G interference with aircraft in EU  

Aer Lingus uses Airbus planes, while Ryanair predominantly uses Boeing 737 aircraft, none of which have been cited as potentially causing any issues. Picture: Dan Linehan

The aviation safety regulator for the EU says it is unaware of any incidents caused by 5G interference, after reports emerged from the US about the new technology potentially affecting airline equipment.

Issues surrounding 5G technology and Boeing 777 aircraft have been flagged as being potentially problematic, but Irish carrier Aer Lingus told the Irish Examiner the impact on its operations was minimal.

Aer Lingus uses Airbus planes, while Ryanair predominantly uses Boeing 737 aircraft, none of which have been cited as potentially causing any issues.

A spokesperson said: "Aer Lingus has engaged with all of the regulatory authorities and with Airbus on this matter and our current assessment is that minimal operational disruption is expected as a result of the new 5G service being rolled out in the US."

Nevertheless, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), said it was "aware of the various developments in the US" regarding the potential risk of 5G interference of radio altimeters.

It did stress, however, that the "need to ensure there is no interference from 5G is not a new issue". 

"EASA has conducted investigations as to whether the deployment of 5G will have any impact on radio altimeter functioning and subsequent impact at aircraft level and will continue to investigate this actively. This involves collating technical information from aircraft and equipment manufacturers to ensure that 5G will not create any unsafe conditions," it said.

The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) is to conduct a study on 5G mobile telephony and radio altimeters.

EASA added: "Until the 5G initiation in the US, the technical data received from EU manufacturers offers no conclusive evidence for immediate safety concerns at this time. 

"However we will continue to monitor the situation closely, not only in the EU, but also in other regions where the allocated 5G frequency band is closer to the frequencies used for radio altimeters."

The issue over the C-band strand of 5G appears to particularly affect the Boeing 777, a long-range, wide-body aircraft used by carriers worldwide.

Cancellations

Two Japanese airlines directly named the aircraft as being particularly affected by the 5G signals as they announced cancellations and changes to their schedules.

Dubai-based Emirates, a key carrier for East-West travel, announced it would halt flights to Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Newark, New Jersey, Orlando, Florida, San Francisco and Seattle over the issue, beginning on Wednesday.

It said it would continue flights to Los Angeles, New York and Washington.

In its announcement, Emirates cited the cancellation as necessary due to “operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the US at certain airports”.

“We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our US services as soon as possible,” the state-owned airline said.

The United Arab Emirates successfully rolled out 5G coverage all around its airports without incident, like dozens of other countries.

But in the US, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has concerns the C-Band strand of 5G could interfere with aviation equipment. 

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