WASHINGTON, Jan 19 (Reuters) - U.S. airlines said on
Wednesday the rollout of new 5G services was having only a minor
impact on air travel as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) said it has issued new approvals to allow more
The increased approvals for Boeing and Airbus planes meant
an estimated 62% of U.S. commercial planes could perform
bad-weather landings at some airports, up from 45% previously,
the FAA said.
Many international carriers had canceled flights to the
United States or switched aircraft on concerns that powerful
signals from the 5G rollout, which began on Wednesday, could
interfere with airplane systems.
AT&T and Verizon Communications agreed late
Tuesday to delay switching on new telecom towers near key
airports even as they turned on the new 5G C-Band service.
The FAA early Wednesday cleared aircraft using another three
radio altimeters, which are used to give data on height above
grounds for bad-weather landings. It approved two others
American Airlines said it had seen a "minor
operational impact" including some delays and four cancellations
as a result of the new 5G service and some additional impact to
its regional fleets.
It expected the FAA to soon issue additional approvals "for
our Airbus and regional fleets."
United Airlines said it anticipated "minor
disruptions at some airports due to the remaining 5G
Southwest Airlines said that initially "because of
favorable weather conditions, we anticipate very minimal impact
on our operation."
Airplane models with one of the five cleared altimeters
include some Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777,
MD-10/-11 and Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330,
A340, A350 and A380 models, the FAA said.
"Even with these approvals, flights at some airports may
still be affected," it cautioned.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he had "pushed as hard
I can to have the 5G folks hold up and abide by what was being
requested by the airlines."
Verizon will temporarily not turn on about 500 towers near
airports, sources told Reuters, or less than 10% of their
planned deployment, while the carriers and the administration
work on a permanent solution.
Verizon Chief Executive Hans Vestberg told CNBC Wednesday he
was confident a review of the aviation concerns around those
towers near airports will "go fast."
(Reporting by David Shepardson
Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Pullin)