PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – AT&T and Verizon have delayed the rollout of 5G service near some airports.
The delay happened as some airlines planned to cancel or change flights on Wednesday due to concerns about the technology.
Gene Olson, director of airports at Peoria International Airport (PIA), said 5G concerns are due to possible interference with a plane’s instruments. This includes radar altimeters that detect how high a plane is in the sky.
“It’s not a situation where you’re going to see airplanes falling out of the sky, but it is a situation where because we haven’t proved that it is safe, you could see airplanes not getting to where they’re supposed to be because of the potential impacts of this,” Olson said.
Olson said the philosophy of aviation and the FAA is that in order to determine if something is safe, it must be tested and proven.
“There’s some airplanes where they’ve tested the radar altimeters and they know they’re good to go. There’s some that they’ve tested and they know they’re bad in terms of 5G interfering with them, and there’s a lot that haven’t been tested,” Olson said.
He added that PIA shouldn’t be impacted directly but 5G issues could have indirect effects.
“I think the indirect impact that we could see here would be if Chicago goes to really bad visibility and they need to do those approaches, you could see a lot of disruption in terms of airplanes getting diverted here maybe,” Olson said.