Boeing Takes Hit as Its 777, 787 Planes Appear Susceptible to 5G Network

Boeing faces a setback as its 777 and 787 planes used by airlines worldwide are particularly susceptible to the new 5G network signals as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced safety concerns.

The FAA said the new 5G signals could interfere with the Boeing 787's and 777's airplanes systems using radio altimeters, which indicate how far a plane is off the ground while in the air, according to a statement Friday.

Altimeters data are used in several systems such as for engines, flight controls, traffic alert, collision avoidance, ground proximity warning, autopilot systems, and detecting dangerous wind shears.

Airlines are concerned because altimeters operate in the 4.2-4.4 GHz range, and the 5G frequencies would operate too close to the same range and affect airplane instruments, Reuters reported.

AT&T and Verizon announced Tuesday they planned to postpone releasing their 5G wireless service in some areas near U.S. airports after rising concerns about the 5G network interfering with airplanes signals and causing massive travel disruption, per the Associated Press.

Regardless of the network delay, several international airlines changed planes or canceled flights altogether Wednesday after increasing concerns over the new 5G phone service affecting airplane technology.

"Boeing has announced flight restrictions on all airlines operating the Boeing 777 aircraft, and we have canceled or changed the aircraft for some flights to/from the U.S. based on the announcement by Boeing," Japan's All Nippon said, according to the AP.

However, Air France announced it will still be using its Boing 777s to fly into the U.S. It did not say why it wasn't changing aircraft like several other airlines after the FAA's announcement, the AP reported.

In general, the 5G signals could make a number of Boeing aircrafts unusable and cause both passenger and cargo travel delays for millions of people, per Reuters. The news organization also reported, per United Airlines, that an estimated 1.25 million United passengers would be negatively affected by the 5G network interfering with plane systems.

"The entire U.S. airline industry is facing major disruption," American Airlines Chief Operating Officer David Seymour said, per Reuters.

The FAA warned the operators of the 787 and 777 passenger planes to take extra precautions when landing on wet runways with airports near 5G towers because it could cause significant interference. The agency said the issues with the airplane systems "may not be evident" until the aircraft has reached a low altitude on approach for landing.

"The presence of 5G C-Band interference can result in degraded deceleration performance, increased landing distance, and runway excursion," the FAA said in a statement.

A more simple way to put this is a plane could run off the end of the runway because of 5G interference, according to Euronews.

Boeing 787s are used by over 80 international airlines including Qantas Air, American Airlines and Air France. The U.S. has 137 in its fleet and there are another 1,010 airplanes worldwide, said the FAA.

The agency also said 48 U.S. airports are planning to switch to 5G networks on January 19. It has cleared 45 percent of the U.S. airline fleet to land in poor weather conditions at the airports, Euronews reported.

5G Signals Interfering With Airplanes
Boeing 777 and 787 planes were warned to be highly susceptible to airplane technology interference from the new 5G network as cell phone carriers planned to release their service. Martin Bureau/ AFP/Getty Images