About 90% of the U.S. commercial aircraft fleet is at least somewhat shielded from interference caused by new 5G wireless networks, the Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday.
The FAA expanded the roster of aircraft that it says can perform “most” low-visibility landings in the presence of 5G radio waves to include several models of regional jets, according to a notice on the agency’s website.
The FAA approvals don’t cover every plane at every airport, and are subject to revisions each month as the agency reviews the addition of new 5G cell towers, the agency said. They could also be limited if wireless companies increase power levels.
On Monday and Tuesday, Paine Field in Everett canceled flights of Horizon Air’s Embraer E175, a 76-seat regional jet, because of 5G-related restricts and fog. The Embraer E175 was not on the FAA 5G roster on Tuesday.
New wireless phone service that began on Jan. 19 broadcasting on frequencies near those used by aircraft has prompted the FAA to raise concerns about radio interference.
The latest action by the agency, combined with an agreement by wireless companies to temporarily limit power levels and the placement of cell towers near airports, has meant that the most severe impacts have been avoided for now.
The issue could return, and FAA approvals be revoked, if the wireless carriers expand 5G power and tower locations in coming months.
The FAA separately on Tuesday issued directives restricting flights on Boeing 777 and 747-8 aircraft as a result of potential interference from 5G. But both aircraft are covered by waivers that will likely limit impacts from the new directive.
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