BA rejigs flights to US over 5G concerns
British Airways has been forced to change its flight schedules over growing concerns that the roll-out of 5G technology near airports could disrupt aircraft navigation systems.
The airline’s Boeing 777s and 747-8 jets are thought to be particularly at risk of being affected because of the frequency used by the cellular network.
BA scrapped flights from London to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco and later re-booked passengers on to Airbus A380s which do not have the 5G issue.
It is one of several carriers to have acted over concerns that the new, faster mobile network could interfere with altimeters which are crucial for landing.
Emirates and Japan Airlines have also cancelled flights to the US. Virgin Atlantic, which does not operate Boeing 777s, said it had not made any cancellations or aircraft changes.
About 500 towers near airports — about 10% of the network — were left unactivated after the Federal Aviation Administration issued a last-minute warning too late to prevent disruption as many flights had already been cancelled.
The UK already has a 5G network but British airports are unaffected by the concerns because it uses a different frequency.
BA said: “Safety is always our priority. We are monitoring the situation in the US closely and will continue to review our schedule.
“We’ve changed the aircraft operating some of our flights and rebooked those on cancelled services onto alternatives.
“We’re disappointed that, like other airlines, some of our customers’ travel plans have been disrupted.”
Emirates, which is based in Dubai and is the world’s largest operator of 777s, said on Wednesday that it would halt flights to Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Newark, New Jersey, Orlando, Florida, San Francisco and Seattle. It said it would continue flights to Los Angeles, New York and Washington.
Shares in British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines ended the day 3.4% lower.