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Wireless telecom giants AT & T and Verizon announced the activation of 5G towers near some US airports would be delayed for two weeks to resolve the differences.

'We are frustrated by the FAA's inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it do so in a timely manner, ’ AT & T officials said in a statement on Tuesday.

The fear among airlines, aircraft manufacturer Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Administration was that the new 5G network could interfere with vital aircraft instruments that are on a similar wavelength.

They say the new technology could cause thousands of flights to be delayed, and risks leaving large parts of the US aircraft fleet grounded indefinitely.

In the US, the radio frequencies being used for 5G are in part of the spectrum known as C-Band.

These frequencies are close to the ones used by radio altimeters on aeroplanes, which measure the height of the aircraft above the ground, but also provide data for safety and navigation systems.

It said there was "potential for broad impacts to aviation operations in the United States, including the possibility of catastrophic failures leading to multiple fatalities, in the absence of appropriate mitigations".

Modern planes, like the one seen here, contain altimeters, which measures altitude and allows pilots to fly when visibility is limited

These could make it difficult to slow the plane down on landing, causing it to veer off the runway.

Planes won't be allowed to use radio altimeters in circumstances where there could be a risk of serious interference.

But that will restrict the ability of some aircraft to land, for example, in poor visibility.

That's because the way in which 5G is being rolled out varies from country to country.

In a safety notice published in December, the Civil Aviation Authority ( CAA ) said that "there have been no confirmed instances where 5G interference has resulted in aircraft system malfunction or unexpected behaviour".

The UK regulator says it plans to work internationally to gather further data on the issue.

"this means that on a day like yesterday, more than 1,100 flights and 100,000 passengers would be subjected to cancellations, diversions or delays. '

"To be blunt, the nation's commerce will grind to a halt," the executives said.

US airlines claim 5G can render radar altimeters unreliable. Pictured is a Verizon 5G tower going up in Utah

"Unless our major hubs are cleared to fly, the vast majority of the traveling and shipping public will essentially be grounded," the letter, signed by the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue, as well as freight and parcel carriers UPS and FedEx, said.

US airline chiefs have warned that the introduction of a new 5G service could cause US commerce to "grind to a halt" due to possibly grounding a significant number of aircraft and might “ strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas ”.

On Sunday, the FAA said it had cleared an estimated 45 % of US commercial airplanes to perform low-visibility landings at many airports where 5G C-band will be deployed starting on Wednesday.

"Multiple modern safety systems on aircraft will be deemed unusable causing a much larger problem than what we knew … Airplane manufacturers have informed us that there are huge swaths of the operating fleet that may need to be indefinitelygrounded."

The CEOs of some of America's largest airlines wrote to federal officials on Monday warning about the potential negative effects of 5G

the airlines had requested "that 5g be implemented everywhere in the country except within the approximate 2 miles of airport runways' at some key airports.

'Immediate intervention is needed to avoid significant operational disruption to air passengers, shippers, supply chain and delivery of needed medical supplies. '

The airlines urged action to ensure "5G is deployed except when towers are too close to airport runways until the FAA can determine how that can be safely accomplished without catastrophic disruption".

Warnings of an impending "catastrophic" crisis in aviation came in a letter sent to the White House national economic council director, Brian Deese, transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ) administrator, Steve Dickson, and Federal Communications Commission ( FCC ) chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, Reuters reported on Monday.

Airlines for America, the group that organized the letter, declined to comment.

The government agencies did not immediately comment.

AT & T and Verizon, which won nearly all of the C-Band spectrum in an $ 80 billion auction last year, on January 3 agreed to buffer zones around 50 airports to reduce interference risks and take other steps to cut potential interference for six months.

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