How Does 5G Affect Airplanes?

5G network has been in the news for a long time now and is considered the next big step in the advancement of telecommunication technology. It provides numerous upgrades over the existing features of the 4G LTE network. With a better and faster speed, the network has made people curious and excited. 

It works on several bands of frequencies that are more than what the 4G network used to work on. People will find this new network time consuming and more effective in comparison to other networks. 

It has been reported that several airlines had to cancel or reschedule their flights in the United States recently. This happened due to the concerns over the launch of the 5G mobile network with its new technology causing interferences in the airplane system. 

According to these reports, the 5G network interfered with the onboard instruments of flights. It had also been noted that these 5G services were recently introduced by Verizon and AT&T in the US before the interferences were spotted. 

It was seen as a worrisome event with respect to aviation safety. As per the international reports, over 2 per cent of the US flights from several airlines were cancelled due to technical issues, and these issues were thought of as a cause of the introduction of the 5G network. 

How Does 5G Affect Airplanes?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the US aviation regulator, reported that the concern of the 5G network’s interferences with the flight’s system was real and could affect its functioning. It is an issue that has to be looked upon as it will cause serious trouble if proved to be true. But, the real question is how does the 5G network affect these airplanes?

All aircraft have a radio altimeter, and the 5G network interferes with this. This interference can result in preventing the engine and the braking systems to transition to the landing mode. Due to this, the aircraft cannot stop on the runway while landing.  

This radio altimeter is used when we need to precisely measure the aircraft’s height over the surface. This altimeter is more than a barometric altimeter and has properties that can interact with the 5G network. 

It is used in operations that involve auto-land or other low altitude operations. The concern was that the 5G technology would cause wireless signals that will be transmitted and received by the aircraft instrumentation to interfere with its functioning.

Due to these reasons, airline companies in the US are also concerned and are in conversation with companies like AT&T and Verizon to discuss their plans of coming out with the 5G network and wireless services. 

The airlines have shown their concern over the delay or disturbance in the workings of the aircraft. The 5G services near the major airports can disrupt thousands of flights. 5G can interfere with the most prominent and key instruments of aircraft and affects them.

The new 5G wireless services work on a different technology than the previous 4G or 4G LTE network. It works on different frequencies and makes use of those segment of the radio spectrum that is close to the spectrum used by altimeters in aircraft. 

The service providers are ready to roll out the C-Band 5G services that, as per research, can interfere with and affect the functionality of the plane’s instruments. It can cause a disturbance with the altimeters, which are used to measure the distance of the plane from the ground. It can also hamper the aircraft’s low-visibility operations.

Till these doubts are cleared and solved, the aircraft can be kept on hold and resulting in delay. There will be a delay and disruption in the majority of shipping and travelling of public and material goods resulting in losses. 

To test the planes and figure out which planes can tolerate the 5G network and simultaneously take off and land under the radiation, FAA conducted a survey. Here, they decided to allow the planes with accurate and reliable altimeters to function close to a high power 5G network or signal. 

A lot of airline services showing their concern mentioned that 5G internet’s launch could cause a catastrophic aviation crisis leading to major accidents. The only solution can be implementing these 5G networks everywhere in the country except within two miles of the airport runways. Through these measures, the functions and technicalities of the airplanes can be maintained. 


With the emergence of the 5G network in the US, it has been noticed that the 5G network’s radiations can interact with the flight’s inner functions. It can affect the altimeter that is used to measure a flight’s distance from the ground while landing. 

Due to the disturbance in its workings, there can be a major issue in the landing of these aircraft. There have been several suggestions to overcome this obstacle. 

Researchers have been trying to test the flights that have a more reliable and accurate altimeter to see if the 5G network still affects them. It has also been suggested that service providers should opt to not implement the 5G network in the vicinity of airports.