Airlines sound alarm over looming 5G rollout

Major airlines are warning that the planned rollout of 5G technology Wednesday could cause "catastrophic disruptions" in air travel.

5G wireless is supposed to offer faster more reliable wireless service.

But major airlines are asking the government to stop AT&T and Verizon from launching part of it within two miles of airports.

The problem is the C-band frequency that the trade group Airlines for America said could interfere with instruments used to navigate in low visibility.


The CEOs of Delta, American, United, Southwest, FedEx, UPS and others all signed a letter to federal regulators saying any 5G rollout could lead to planes being grounded indefinitely.

They said the "ripple effect" to the economy would be "simply incalculable".

Passengers at O'Hare Airport Tuesday said safety should come first.

"In my opinion, the safety of the airline passengers is more important than working on a 5G network," said Ron Bonneau.

"We already have enough trouble with airlines right now with all the other issues. All the airports want to do is have them turn down the 5G towers that are next to the airport and I think that's a reasonable accommodation," Bonneau said.

Marie Warshauer said she's"a little bit" worried, "but I'm also wondering why businesses don't talk to each other. It's too big of a situation ... 
I think they should work together figure it out together. I'm just glad I'm flying today and not tomorrow."

The rollout was already pushed back two weeks at the request of the FAA which has been studying the impact of 5G.

"I'm definitely very concerned about safety first and foremost," said Tatiana Harris. "I think they should hold off until more research is done for sure."

AT&T & Verizon said they believe 5G can be launched without sacrificing safety.

"At our sole discretion we have voluntarily agreed to temporarily defer turning on a limited number of towers around certain airport runways as we continue to work with the aviation industry and the FAA to provide further information about our 5G deployment, since they have not utilized the two years they’ve had to responsibly plan for this deployment," an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement.  "We are frustrated by the FAA’s inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it do so in a timely manner. We are launching our advanced 5G services everywhere else as planned with the temporary exception of this limited number of towers."