NBAA welcomes timeout for 5G deployments near airports

NBAA Press Release | January 19, 2022

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 12 seconds.

With new 5G wireless networks scheduled to go live across the country on Jan. 19, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen welcomed the decision by telecommunications providers AT&T and Verizon to temporarily delay transmitter deployments near certain airports in response to continued aviation industry concerns about potential 5G interference to radar altimeters.

In addition to providing real-time measurement of an aircraft’s clearance over terrain or other obstacles – critical information in a variety of operations, including landings in inclement weather conditions – radar altimeters may also be integrated with other aviation equipment such as terrain avoidance and warning systems (TAWS) and autoland capabilities, as well as ground spoilers, anti-skid braking, pressurization and other seemingly unrelated aircraft systems.

“It’s important that we get this launch right, and without any compromise to vital aviation safety systems,” Bolen said. “We appreciate the decision to defer deployment at certain towers, which will help ensure the ability to fly safely and efficiently across our National Airspace System.”

Bolen reminded business aviation operators that the latest information about the impact of the 5G deployment for the business aviation community is available at

Verizon and AT&T agreed earlier this month to operate 5G towers at reduced power for six months near several large commercial and general aviation airports. However, on Jan. 17 several of the nation’s airlines called for “immediate intervention” from the Biden administration to further delay 5G transmitter activations within 2 miles of commercial airports, or face potential flight cancellations and diversions.

“We recognize the economic importance of expanding 5G, and we appreciate the wireless companies working with us to protect the flying public and the country’s supply chain,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg following the announcements. “The complex U.S. airspace leads the world in safety because of our high standards for aviation, and we will maintain this commitment as wireless companies deploy 5G.”

AT&T and Verizon emphasized the delays are temporary and will not affect their plans to power up other 5G transmitters across the country on Jan. 19. It is not yet known which airports will be affected by this latest decision, or for how long the companies will delay enabling those transmitters.

This press release was prepared and distributed by NBAA

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