The FAA Releases List Of 50 Airports With 5G Buffers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) yesterday shared a list of airports that will have buffer zones when communication companies switch on the controversial new 5G C-band service on January 19th. The move follows the rise of notable concerns from authorities about the technology’s impact on aviation safety.

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Airlines and authorities are keen to tackle potential disruption from the new 5G service. Photo: Getty Images

National concerns

Last month, the FAA issued a pair of airworthiness directives to mitigate fears about the impact that the C-band signals could have on operations. Ultimately, there are anxieties that the networks may interfere with an aircraft’s altimeters. So, in certain conditions, airline services could become disrupted.

As a result, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson and United States Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last week asked leading communications firms to postpone the rollout of the new 5G service, which was set to be introduced on January 5th. The authorities highlighted that they wanted more testing to be conducted.

It should be noted that these factors only relate to the networks of Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile also offers 5G. However, the company does not use the C-band spectrum frequencies that the FAA is worried about.

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Major airports across the United States are on the buffer list. Photo: Getty Images

An extensive list

The FAA garnered input from the aviation industry where the proposed buffer zones “would help reduce the risk of disruption.” The organization took factors such as the number of low-visibility days, location, and traffic into consideration.

The 50 airports that will have buffer zones are:

  • AUS – AUSTIN-BERGSTROM INTL
  • BED –  LAURENCE G HANSCOM FLD
  • BFI – BOEING FLD/KING COUNTY INTL
  • BHM – BIRMINGHAM-SHUTTLESWORTH INTL
  • BNA – NASHVILLE INTL
  • BUR – BOB HOPE
  • CAK – AKRON-CANTON
  • CLT – CHARLOTTE/DOUGLAS INTL
  • DAL – DALLAS LOVE FLD
  • DFW – DALLAS-FORT WORTH INTL
  • DTW – DETROIT METRO WAYNE COUNTY
  • EFD – ELLINGTON
  • EWR – NEWARK LIBERTY INTL
  • FAT – FRESNO YOSEMITE INTL
  • FLL – FORT LAUDERDALE/HOLLYWOOD INTL
  • FNT – FLINT MICHIGAN
  • HOU – WILLIAM P HOBBY
  • HVN – NEW HAVEN
  • IAH – GEORGE BUSH INTCNTL/HOUSTON
  • IND – INDIANAPOLIS INTL I
  • SP – LONG ISLAND MAC ARTHUR
  • JFK – JOHN F KENNEDY INTL
  • LAS – HARRY REID INTL
  • LAX – LOS ANGELES INTL
  • LGA – LAGUARDIA
  • LGB – LONG BEACH (DAUGHERTY FLD)
  • MCI – KANSAS CITY INTL
  • MCO – ORLANDO INTL
  • MDT – HARRISBURG INTL
  • MDW – CHICAGO MIDWAY INTL
  • MFE – MCALLEN INTL
  • MIA – MIAMI INTL
  • MSP – MINNEAPOLIS-ST PAUL INTL/WOLD-CHAMBERLAIN
  • ONT – ONTARIO INTL
  • ORD – CHICAGO O’HARE INTL
  • PAE – SNOHOMISH COUNTY (PAINE FLD)
  • PBI – PALM BEACH INTL
  • PHL – PHILADELPHIA INTL
  • PHX – PHOENIX SKY HARBOR INTL
  • PIE – ST PETE-CLEARWATER INTL
  • PIT – PITTSBURGH INTL
  • RDU – RALEIGH-DURHAM INTL
  • ROC – FREDERICK DOUGLASS/GREATER ROCHESTER INTL
  • SEA – SEATTLE-TACOMA INTL
  • SFO – SAN FRANCISCO INTL
  • SJC – NORMAN Y MINETA SAN JOSE INTL
  • SNA – JOHN WAYNE/ORANGE COUNTY
  • STL – ST LOUIS LAMBERT INTL
  • SYR – SYRACUSE HANCOCK INTL
  • TEB – TETERBORO
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Airports coast-to-coast are having to keep an eye on the situation. Photo: Getty Images

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A sensitive situation

Along with the list reveal, the FAA added crucial details about the overall impact. The group also shared information about the broader airport network.

“Many airports are not currently affected by the new 5G deployment, even though they are not on this list. These include airports not in the 46 markets where the new service will be deployed and airports that do not currently have the ability to allow low-visibility landings,” the FAA shared in a statement.

“The wireless companies agreed to turn off transmitters and make other adjustments near these airports for six months to minimize potential 5G interference with sensitive aircraft instruments used in low-visibility landings. The FAA continues to work with the aerospace manufacturers and wireless companies to make sure 5G is safely deployed and to limit the risk of flight disruptions at all airports.”

The FAA this week warned that even with the temporary buffer around 50 sites, the new 5G deployment will increase the risk of disruption during low visibility. Diversions, cancellations, and delays could occur during low visibility periods.

Following the deployment of C-band, there will undoubtedly be several twists and turns. We can expect additional updates from the FAA in the coming weeks.

What are your thoughts about the rollout of C-band 5G? What do you make of its impact on aviation? Let us know what you think of the introduction in the comment section.

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