Aerospace Industry Statement on FAA Airworthiness Directives Related to 5G Deployment

Arlington, Va. (Dec. 8, 21) – The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and a coalition of organizations representing the world’s leading aerospace manufacturers, airlines, pilots, and operators released a statement following the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) issuing of airworthiness directives (ADs) related to the deployment of 5G technologies to the C-band in the United States.

“We appreciate the FAA’s efforts to find a safe solution for aviation and successful deployment of 5G. While we are currently evaluating the airworthiness directives and preparing to fully abide by them to ensure that aviation operations remain safe, we also expect significant disruptions to the national aviation system due to the rollout of 5G technologies in the C-band unless the FCC acts to mitigate the concerns. Potential impacts include: delayed and cancelled passenger flights; delayed air cargo shipments; significant schedule disruptions; and inability for first responders, military, and law enforcement to fly helicopter missions. We will have a full assessment of the impact of the ADs in the coming days.

“Our coalition continues to call for a long-term solution that will protect the flying public by ensuring radio altimeters operate accurately while allowing 5G to roll out safely. The goal is to avoid disruptions to aviation operations.

“Last month, AT&T and Verizon proposed to modestly reduce their 5G power levels in C-band at an undefined number of airports for six months.  While appreciated, the mitigations proposed by AT&T and Verizon are inadequate and far too narrow to ensure the safety and economic vitality of the aviation industry and the millions of people traveling by air each year.

“Industry stakeholders have offered a counter-proposal to the Federal Communication Commission, which builds on the telecom proposal and provides additional safeguards in, around, and on the approach to airports and heliports. The aviation stakeholders’ proposal aims to minimize the impact on both telecom operations and our national aviation system.

“With the current launch date of January 5, and the ADs just being released, it is clear we need to get this balance right. We strongly urge for a further delay in5G deployment for the data sharing and consultations necessary to create a win-win situation for both industries. The aviation industry has brought forward sensible mitigation strategies that should have the appropriate time to be considered and implemented.”

The statement comes from the Aerospace Industries Association, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), Airlines for America (A4A), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), Regional Airline Association (RAA), National Air Carrier Association (NACA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Last month, an aviation coalition called on the National Economic Council to convene a joint industry working group to bring the aviation and telecommunications industries together to find a long-term solution that will protect the flying public by ensuring radio altimeters operate accurately while allowing 5G to roll out safely.

More information on the proposal can be found here.

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 For more than 100 years, the American aerospace and defense industries have shaped the world around us in countless ways with immeasurable impact. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has been that voice since 1919. Our work as an advocate and convener is essential to shaping policy, shedding light on the industry’s impact and empowering its future.

Together, we advocate for effective federal investments; accelerated deployment of innovative technologies; policies that enhance our global competitiveness; and recruitment and retention efforts that support a capable and diverse 21st century workforce.