If you aren’t paying attention to the 5G rollout by companies like AT&T and Verizon and the potential impact on aviation, you need to. 

On Wednesday, numerous international airlines canceled US-bound flights over safety concerns. 

The president of Emirates, based in Dubai, called the 5G situation the biggest screwup he’s witnessed in his entire career. 

The FAA has been concerned that 5G cellular antennas near some airports could throw off readings from some of the equipment used on airplanes to inform pilots how far they are from the ground. 

In December, the FAA issued an order that barred pilots from using the potentially affected altimeters near airports where they could be required because of weather conditions.  That new rule could prevent planes from landing because pilots would not be able to use their instruments alone. 

Here’s what Emirates president Tim Clark told CNN. 

“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.” 

Clark said Emirates would resume flights to the US if the rollout is suspended and the threat is removed. 

Other airlines who have altered their landing plans in the US include Japan Airlines, Air India, British Airways, and Lufthansa. 

Verizon said it has “voluntarily decided to limit our 5G network around airports.”

At&T said they would continue with their 5G rollout as scheduled but “voluntarily agreed to temporarily defer turning on a limited number of towers around certain airport runways.” 

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