The ongoing chaos surrounding the Verizon and AT&T rollout of C-band in the United States is “one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible” situations the president of Emirates airlines has seen in his aviation career.
Speaking to CNN’s Richard Quest, Emirates president Tim Clark said that the Dubai-based airline was not aware of the issues until Tuesday morning “to the extent that it was going to compromise the safety of operation of our aircraft and just about every other 777 operator to and from the United States and within the United States.”
“We were aware of a 5G issue. Okay. We are aware that everybody is trying to get 5G rolled out after all it’s the super cool future of whatever it may be communication and information flow. We were not aware that the power of the antennas in the United States have been doubled compared to what’s going on elsewhere. We were not aware that the antenna themselves have been put into a vertical position rather than a slight slanting position, which then taken together compromise not only the radio altimeter systems but the flight control systems on the fly by wire aircraft. So on that basis we took that decision late last night to suspend all our services until we had clarity,” he added, saying that the airline wouldn’t take any risks.
“I need to be as candid as I normally am, and say this is one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible issue subjects, call it what you like, I’ve seen in my aviation career because it involves organs of government, manufacturers, science, etc,” Clark said of the situation. “And you know, the notion that, for instance, the United States government should sell its franchise for all the frequencies for a large amount of money. Somebody should have told them at the time — that the risks and the dangers they placed in certain frequency uses around field, airfields, metropolitan fields that should have been done at the time.”
On Wednesday, Emirates announced that it would be indefinitely suspending flights to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and some other U.S. airports in response to the ongoing concern over flight safety.
“Due to operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the US at certain airports, Emirates will be suspending flights to the following US destinations on 20 January 2022: Chicago (ORD), Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), Miami (MIA), Newark (EWR), Orlando (MCO), and Seattle (SEA),” the company said in its statement.
“Customers whose bookings have been cancelled may be able to connect to their final destination from one of Emirates’ other US gateways with our codeshare partners Jetblue or Alaskan and are advised to contact their travel agent or Emirates call centre for information on options,” the statement continued, noting that Emirates flights to New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. would continue to operate as scheduled.
“Emirates regrets any inconvenience caused. We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our US services as soon as possible,” Emirates added.
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.