US FAA demands precautions for some Boeing 787 landings after new 5G launches

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Friday it will require Boeing 787 operators to take extra precautions when landing on wet or snow-covered runways at airports where new services wireless will be rolled out starting next week.

The FAA said 5G interference could prevent engines and braking systems from entering landing mode, which could prevent a plane from stopping on the runway.

The directive asks crews “to be aware of this risk and to adopt specific safety procedures when landing on these runways”. It affects 137 US aircraft and 1,010 aircraft worldwide.

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AT&T and Verizon, which won nearly all of the C-band spectrum in an $80 billion auction last year, agreed on January 3 to create buffer zones around 50 airports to reduce the risks of interference. They also agreed to delay the deployment for two weeks.

The FAA directive prohibits operators from dispatching or releasing 787s “to affected airports when certain aircraft braking and anti-skid functions are inoperative.”

Boeing did not immediately comment.

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The FAA is also expected to detail “alternative” compliance for specific aircraft types and airports by Wednesday.

The FAA on Thursday issued nearly 1,500 advisories detailing the extent of the potential impact of 5G services.

The advisories state where “aircraft with altimeters that are untested or that need to be retrofitted or replaced will not be able to perform low visibility landings where 5G is deployed.”

On January 7, the FAA announced the 50 US airports that will have 5G buffer zones, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Detroit, Dallas, Philadelphia, Seattle and Miami.

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On Thursday, Airports Council International – North America urged delaying the implementation of 5G to avoid widespread disruption to the US air transportation system.

“More than 100 airports and heliports in 46 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas will have their low visibility approach procedures closed due to potential radio frequency,” the airport trade group said.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Diane Craft and John Stonestreet)

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