Minister of State for Civil Aviation V.K. Singh in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on Thursday said that the government is aware of the concerns expressed by airlines and manufacturers of aircraft upon the rollout of 5G mobile services in the US and its potential interference with the aircraft radio altimeters.
These flights were cancelled on January 19, 2022 (Mumbai to Newark to Mumbai and Delhi to Chicago to Hyderabad) and on January 20, 2022 (Delhi to Newark to Delhi, Delhi to Chicago to Delhi and Delhi to San Francisco to Delhi).
In March 2020, the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) adopted final rules for launching 5G services in the US in C-band (3.7-3.98 GHz) in December 2021/ January 2022.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the US determined that the above launch would likely cause harmful interference to radar (radio) altimeters installed on aircraft and issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) in December 2021 which prohibits certain operations when these aircraft are operated in the 5G C-band wireless broadband signal environment in the US.
The AD has been mandated by DGCA for adherence by Indian operators while operating to the US. The above AD also provides an Alternate Means of Compliance (AMOC) which has been approved by FAA and accepted by DGCA for the Indian fleet, said the Ministry in the reply.
Currently, Air India is operating to the US with their Boeing B777 and B787 aircraft. The Air India fleet is in compliance with the above AD and the AMOC, added the reply.
“In addition, FAA has also issued another Airworthiness Directive for the Boeing 787 fleet in likelihood of interference with 5G signals which has also been mandated by DGCA and complied by Air India on its fleet,” said the Ministry.