5G expansion not planned for area around Hartsfield-Jackson

Travelers check for flight information at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2021. (David McNew/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Travelers check for flight information at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles on Dec. 24, 2021. (David McNew/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Airlines raise concerns about nationwide flight disruptions due to 5G

While Hartsfield-Jackson International is not one of the airports directly affected by the planned rollout of 5G mobile technology, that doesn’t mean there won’t be an impact on travelers here.

Airline industry leaders say the expansion of 5G mobile technology could interfere with the instruments on some airplanes, and they asked the Biden Administration to intervene to prevent severe flight disruptions. Verizon and AT&T planned to rollout on Wednesday their 5G “C-band,” which uses frequencies close to those used on airplanes to measure altitude during landings in low-visibility conditions.

The 5G C-band is not being deployed in the area around Hartsfield-Jackson International, the busiest airport in the country. However, flights out of Atlanta that are bound for certain areas could be disrupted, depending on whether there’s low visibility and a possibility of 5G interference.

ExploreEXPLAINER: Why airlines fear 5G will upend travel this week

The Federal Aviation Administration said Sunday that passengers should check with their airlines if weather is forecast at a destination where 5G interference is possible.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines issued a statement saying it anticipates weather-related flight cancellations, in spite of an agreement by the telecommunications companies Tuesday to delay 5G rollout around certain U.S. airports and limit the scope of the deployment. Delta said some flight restrictions may remain, and it plans to inform customers when possible about a cancellation or delay due to low-visibility weather conditions at a 5G-affected airport.

The airline said it will send itinerary changes via email or mobile device to customers that provide their contact information to Delta. If a flight is canceled, Delta rebooks customers automatically on the next available flight.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian is among the airline CEOs that signed a letter to government officials Monday warning that 5G interference could cause “significant operational disruption” to airline passengers and shippers.

Hartsfield-Jackson said it will work with neighboring jurisdictions to monitor and address the possible expansion of 5G cell towers adjacent to the airport.

“Diversions at other airports caused by the implementation of 5G may create increased traffic at ATL, but those impacts are expected to be minimal and will be handled by the Airport’s operations teams,” the Atlanta airport said in a statement.

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