Federal officials are easing up some of the restrictions on commercial airliners set to take effect this week when new 5G technology comes online. The United States Federal Aviation Administration said it has cleared for use two radar altimeters used in some Boeing and Airbus jets, a move that it says will allow many US commercial aircraft to make low-visibility landings at some airports.
The aviation world was so concerned the new 5G technology would interfere with the radar altimeter device at low altitudes that the FAA issued restrictions on using some aircraft automation at a long list of airports. Wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T — owner of CNN’s parent company — agreed earlier this month to delay the 5G rollout near airports until January 19.
Days ahead of the Wednesday activation, the FAA says it has lifted restrictions on about 45% of the US commercial aircraft fleet and that about 48 of 88 impacted runways will be eligible for low-visibility landings. The approvals include Boeing’s 737, 747, 757, 767, MD-10 and MD-11 and the Airbus A310, A319, A320, A321, A330 and A350. “Even with these new approvals, flights at some airports may still be affected,” the FAA said in a statement. “The FAA also continues to work with manufacturers to understand how radar altimeter data is used in other flight control systems.”