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Some foreign carriers cancel flights to U.S. over concerns about 5G rollout

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Some foreign carriers cancel flights to U.S. over concerns about 5G rollout
British Airways said Wednesday that it's canceled flights from London's Heathrow to airports in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Several carriers announced cancellations or modifications for flights to the United States on Wednesday due to concerns that the rollout of new 5G cellular services near some airports will interfere with aviation technologies.

The 5G networks use "C-band frequencies," which is similar in some ways to what's used by airplanes to measure altitude.

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Some airlines have said it could interfere with a plane's instruments -- but cellular providers say the aviation industry has had years to upgrade equipment and prepare for the rollout.

British Airways said Wednesday that it's canceled flights from London's Heathrow to airports in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.

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"Safety is always our priority," the carrier said, according to the Evening Standard. "We are monitoring the situation in the U.S. closely and will continue to review our schedule."

AT&T and Verizon both said on Tuesday that they would delay activating 5G towers at certain airports, but expressed frustration toward the FAA over a lack of preparedness. File Photo by James Atoa/UPI

Other carriers, including Emirates, Lufthansa and Air India, have also canceled or changed flights to the United States over the 5G rollout.

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Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines says it will plan for possible cancellations as soon as Wednesday due to 5G service in the vicinity of numerous U.S. airports.

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AT&T and Verizon both said on Tuesday that they would delay activating 5G towers at certain airports, but expressed frustration toward the Federal Aviation Administration.

The White House praised the decision and said the pause will give the government, airlines and telecommunication companies more time to figure out a "way forward."

"This agreement will avoid potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations, and our economic recovery, while allowing more than 90% of wireless tower deployment to occur as scheduled," the White House said in a statement.

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"My team has been engaging non-stop with the wireless carriers, airlines, and aviation equipment manufacturers to chart a path forward for 5G deployment and aviation to safely co-exist -- and, at my direction, they will continue to do so until we close the remaining gap and reach a permanent, workable solution around these key airports."

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