CAL, EVA Air change flight schedules amid U.S. 5G rollout concerns

01/19/2022 03:59 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 19 (CNA) China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways (EVA Air), Taiwan's leading international carriers, announced changes to their flight schedules to and from the United States Wednesday, in response to the launch of 5G telecommunications services in the U.S. that day.

The schedule adjustments by the airlines aim to avoid possible technical disruptions resulting from the rollout of 5G services in the U.S., according to the carriers.

CAL said its decision to bring forward by four hours the scheduled departure of a flight from San Francisco to Taipei Wednesday follows guidelines released by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and aircraft maker Boeing Co. to avoid potential interruptions from 5G signals.

As a result, the CI003 flight will arrive in Taipei at around 1 a.m. Thursday instead of the originally scheduled 5 a.m., the carrier said. (China Airlines website)

EVA Air said it has decided to delay the departure by three hours of two flights, one bound for Los Angeles and the other bound for New York from Taipei on Wednesday, while waiting for further instructions from the U.S. FAA for possible further schedule adjustments.

EVA Air advised passengers to go to the airlines' website or EVA Mobile APP to access the latest information on flight schedule updates.

The flight schedule changes came after international news media reported that the largest airlines in the U.S. warned of disruptions to travel and shipping operations if telecom operators started their 5G technology rollout as planned Wednesday without limiting the coverage near U.S. airports.

The airlines warned that the new C-Band 5G service to be rolled out by Verizon and AT&T, could render a significant number of wide-body aircraft unusable, and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas" and cause "chaos" for U.S. flights, according to a Reuters report.

Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said the aircraft models used in Taiwan that could be affected by the 5G signals are the Boeing 777 and Boeing 787, so the two Taiwanese carriers have decided to adjust their flight schedule to avoid disruptions.

The schedule of flight departures beyond Wednesday remain currently unchanged, but are subject to technology guidelines from the FAA, the CAA said.

The FAA in a statement released on Monday sought to assuage concerns about the impact of the 5G rollout on aviation without offering any concrete next steps, saying only: "With safety as its core mission, the FAA will continue to ensure that the traveling public is safe as wireless companies deploy 5G," according to telecom news outlet Tech Xplore.

"The FAA continues to work with the aviation industry and wireless companies to try to limit 5G-related flight delays and cancellations," Tech Xlpore cited the FAA as saying.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Frances Huang)

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