Air India cancels U.S. flights for second day

On Wednesday, the airline had cancelled flights to and from New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Newark.

In a late evening development, Air India has decided to cancel eight flights to and from the U.S. for Thursday over concerns that the rollout of 5G wireless services there could intervene with critical aircraft functions, according to airline sources.

This is the second consecutive day when Air India’s U.S. flights were hit. On Wednesday, the airline had cancelled flights to and from New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Newark.

Its flight to Washington DC operated as per schedule, according to information shared by the airline on Twitter. Air India operates to five U.S. destinations.

Thursday’s flights to San Francisco, Chicago, Newark were also cancelled.

Throughout Wednesday, airline officials were busy co-ordinating with the U.S. aviation safety watchdog, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to assess the impact of 5G services on its flights and the impact of mitigating measures being announced by telecom operators as part of ongoing negotiations with the U.S. government.

As a result, till 9.30 p.m. on Wednesday the airline had not yet announced the status of its Thursday’s flights, leaving many passengers anxious.

The airline has also not yet announced if U.S. flights for the rest of the week were being cancelled or rescheduled.

Hours before the launch of their 5G services on Wednesday, mobile operators AT&T and Verizon agreed to defer turning on a limited number of towers around certain airport runways following warnings from U.S. carriers that there could be a massive disruption to flight connectivity.

The deployment of the C-band 5G spectrum forms the basis of Verizon’s and AT&T’s 5G network. The FAA has warned that this could cause interference with the radio altimeters used by planes to measure aircraft’s height above the ground and pose challenges while landing, especially in low visibility conditions.

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Printable version | May 9, 2022 6:47:35 pm |