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Three-quarters of US fleet approved for low-visibility landings at airports with 5G: FAA

An estimated 78 percent of the U.S. commercial fleet has been cleared to do low-visibility landings at airports with 5G wireless service, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Thursday.

That’s up from an estimate of 62 percent on Wednesday and includes some regional jets.

The aircraft models now approved for low-visibility landings include: all Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380 models, all Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787, MD-10/-11 models and some Embraer 170 and 190 regional jets, according to the agency.

“The FAA is working diligently to determine which remaining altimeters are reliable and accurate where 5G is deployed in the United States,” the agency said in a statement. “We anticipate some altimeters will be too susceptible to 5G interference. To preserve safety, aircraft with those altimeters will be prohibited from performing low-visibility landings where 5G is deployed because the altimeter could provide inaccurate information.”

The announcement from the FAA comes one day after AT&T and Verizon launched their 5G wireless service, which had been delayed by several weeks earlier this year amid concerns over flight disruptions that the 5G rollout could pose. 

At the crux of the issue is concerns over how altimeters, which measure how far planes are from the ground and help pilots land aircraft in low visibility, could be impacted by the cell phone carriers’ 5G wireless rollout. A segment of the radio spectrum used by altimeters is situated close to a portion used by the 5G service. 

The two cellphone carriers agreed earlier this week to delay 5G rollout at certain airports as airlines expressed concerns about critical flight disruptions, including worries that the transportation of key goods could be disrupted and Americans overseas could be stranded. 

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