• Tuesday, February 07, 2023


5G: Air India resumes 6 India-US flights after Boeing clearance

Representational Image (Photo by RAVEENDRAN/AFP/GettyImages)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA’S national carrier Air India said on Thursday (20) that it resumed six India-US flights on Boeing B777 aircraft the same day after the plane manufacturer gave clearance to fly them.

The carrier had cancelled as many as eight flights on routes to the US on Wednesday (19) due to deployment of 5G internet in North America which could clash with planes’ radio altimeters.

US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a fresh directive on Thursday that radio altimeters fitted in certain types of aircraft, including B777, will not be affected by 5G services.

ALSO READ: 5G deployment hits US flight services, jeopardises travel

Subsequently, an Air India spokesperson told the p that Boeing has cleared the carrier to operate to the US on B777 aircraft.

“Accordingly, first flight left this morning to JFK (New York). Other flights leaving in the day are to Chicago and SFO (San Francisco). Arrangements to carry stranded passengers are being worked out. Matter regarding B777 flying into the USA has been sorted,” the spokesperson said on Thursday.

The Air India flights that have resumed their operations from Thursday are Delhi-New York, New York-Delhi, Delhi-Chicago, Chicago-Delhi, Delhi- San Francisco and San Francisco-Delhi.

Along with these six flights, two other flights — Mumbai-Newark and Newark-Mumbai — were cancelled by Air India on Wednesday.
Boeing, however, did not respond to the PTI’s request for a statement on this matter.

The US aviation regulator had on January 14 said that “5G interference with the aircraft’s radio altimeter could prevent engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode, which could prevent an aircraft from stopping on the runway”.

Radio altimeter measures the height of the aircraft above the ground, allowing it to do low-visibility landings. The frequency band on which the altimeter works is close to that on which the 5G system works. The FAA also said that it made progress during the last two weeks to safely reduce the risk of delays and cancellations as altimeter manufacturers evaluate data from wireless companies to determine how robust each model is.

“This work has shown some altimeters are reliable and accurate in certain 5G areas; others must be retrofitted or replaced,” the FAA noted.

It said that five altimeters have been given the clearance.

Aircraft models with one of five cleared altimeters include Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777.

India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was monitoring the situation very closely.

DGCA chief Arun Kumar told Asian News International on Wednesday (19), “Indian aviation regulator is working in close coordination with our carriers to deal with the current (5G) situation.”

A total of three carriers — American Airlines, United Airlines and Air India — currently operate direct flights between India and the US.

American Airlines and United Airlines – both US carriers — have not issued any statement on how their US-India flights have been specifically hit by the deployment of 5G services in North America.

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