Major U.S. airlines and lawmakers have warned of an imminent aviation crisis as AT&T and Verizon unroll new 5G services across the country this week.
The CEOs of American, Delta, United and other airlines say it could render many widebody aircraft unusable, potentially stranding "thousands of Americans overseas" and causing "chaos" for domestic flights.
United Airlines is urging President Joe Biden's administration to take action, warning that an estimated 1.25 million of its passengers and at least 15,000 flights will be affected each year.
Lawmakers have urged further delay of the 5G deployment.
And airlines are weighing whether to cancel some international flights scheduled to arrive in the U.S. on Wednesday, when the new C-Band 5G service is set to kick in.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned that potential interference could affect sensitive airplane instruments and hamper low-visibility operations.
Officials told Reuters that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and FAA head Steve Dickson have been warned about the looming crisis.
They've asked that the 5G services be implemented everywhere except within approximately 2 miles of runways and towers at key airports.
The FAA said Sunday it's cleared nearly half of the U.S. commercial airplane fleet to perform low-visibility landings where 5G will be deployed, and more approvals are expected.
Verizon and AT&T, which have already delayed the 5G deployment for several weeks, declined to comment on Monday.