IATA demands to guarantee the safe deployment of 5G networks

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The International Air Transport Association urged governments to work closely with the aviation industry to ensure the operation of flights

While IATA recognizes the economic importance of making spectrum available to support next-generation commercial wireless telecommunications, maintaining current levels of passenger, flight crew and aircraft safety must remain a top priority for IATA. the governments. The call came as the industry was gathering in Doha, Qatar, for the 78th IATA Annual General Meeting.

“We should not repeat the recent experience in the United States, where the deployment of 5G C-band spectrum services created a huge disruption to aviation, due to the potential risk of interference with radio altimeters that are critical to landing and landing systems. aircraft safety. In fact, many countries have successfully met the requirements of 5G service providers, while including the necessary mitigations to preserve aviation security and uninterrupted services. These include, for example, Brazil, Canada, France and Thailand,” said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.

Before deciding on any spectrum assignments or conducting spectrum auctions, IATA asked governments to ensure close coordination and mutual understanding between national spectrum and aviation security regulators so that each frequency assignment/assignment is thoroughly studied. thoroughly and is shown not to adversely affect aviation safety and efficiency. . Robust evidence in coordination with aviation subject matter experts is critical to providing the necessary information.

Measures that have already been used by some governments include:

  • Ensure thorough testing, sufficient spectrum separation between 5G C-band deployments and the 4.2-4.4 GHz frequency band used by existing radio altimeters
  • Clearly encode and enforce the maximum power limit for 5G C-band transmission and the downward tilt of 5G antennas, particularly in the vicinity of flight paths.
  • Establishment of sufficient 5G C-band prohibition and caution zones around airports

IATA noted that airlines operating to/from and within the US continue to grapple with the effects of the 5G rollout, including a pending airworthiness directive from the Federal Aviation Administration that requires them to modernize/upgrade radio altimeters to their own charge to allow aircraft to continue using CAT II and CAT III low visibility approaches at many US airports where 5G C-band service is currently or will be implemented in the future. The timely availability of updated altimeters is of concern, as is the cost of these investments and the lack of certainty regarding the future spectrum environment. Additionally, 19 additional telcos are scheduled to roll out 5G networks by December 2023.

“La decisión unilateral de la FAA de exigir a las aerolíneas que reemplacen o actualicen sus radioaltímetros existentes, que están aprobados tanto por la FAA como por la Comisión Federal de Comunicaciones de EE. UU., para julio de 2023 es profundamente decepcionante y poco realista. La FAA ni siquiera ha aprobado o certificado todas las soluciones de seguridad que requerirá, ni los proveedores de sistemas han podido decir con certeza cuándo estará disponible el equipo para gran parte de la flota. Entonces, ¿cómo puede haber alguna confianza en la línea de tiempo? Además, la FAA no puede garantizar que las aerolíneas no tengan que realizar más actualizaciones en los radioaltímetros a medida que se desplieguen redes 5G aún más potentes en un futuro próximo. La seguridad es nuestra máxima prioridad, pero no se puede lograr con este enfoque apresurado.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) have recognized and reminded their Member States and Administrations of the importance of ensuring that existing aviation systems and services are free from harmful interference. This will become even more critical as more and more spectrum is assigned to next generation telecommunications services.