Update on 5G and flights

By Chris Connell :: February 4, 2022

In January the 5G expansion for some wireless carriers caused the FAA to step in and hold off on allowing the rollout within 2 miles of airports to protect flights. The concern for cargo was that cargo moves on many of these aircraft.  Putting a 787 on a route that is normally serviced by a 777 or just not flying the widebody aircraft would impact the space available. The impacts of 5G on airplane altimeters were a concern as both are dependent on C-band technology, which is well explained here. The concerns caused the FAA to start testing altimeters and clearing them for use in 5G areas. Altimeters are the altitude meters that show how high a plane is flying above the planet at any given point. 

There will always be abundant caution regarding any potential interference that can impact passenger safety, but so far, the 5G issue appears to only be a concern to small passenger aircraft. Even though more than 90% of altimeters have been cleared for use in 5G environments, the federal government and telecommunications companies have required a buffer of 2 miles around airports to be in effect until July 5, 2022. That will be a four-month gap for compliance with the required updates to altimeters as every manufacturer has provided proof their equipment and aircraft are fully supported until March 5, 2022. 

The goal is to have the completed upgrade finished with minimal service disruptions. Many airlines are sending out updates to confirm they are in compliance and their planes are safe and qualified to fly in the 5G space. Perishables shippers are highly concerned about any delays that people might experience. Even the short delays that would only slightly upset passenger travel significantly impact perishable produce, proteins, and similar products.

CFI understands those concerns because they are the reason we get to work each day, making sure the food people need arrives on time and as fresh as when we took possession. Our state-of-the-art overpack and cool chain capabilities are used to avoid temperature excursions and prevent or mitigate other problems that could cause spoilage or lost product.

We will always follow the safety issues closely to ensure shipments we’re entrusted with are protected from prolonged exposure, delays and temperature excursions. If you want to know if your perishable cargo is affected by these 5G implementation plans, reach out to your CFI representative for more information.