FAA clears estimated 45% of US commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings

The FAA has cleared an estimated 45% of the US commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at many of the airports where 5G C-band will be deployed on January 19.

The agency approved two radio altimeter models that are installed in a wide variety of Boeing and Airbus planes. This combination of aircraft and altimeter approval opens up runways at as many as 48 of the 88 airports most directly affected by 5G C-band interference.

As of January 5, none of the 88 airports would have been available for landing during low-visibility conditions. The wireless companies agreed to create buffer zones for six months around airports where transmitters are in close proximity. They also agreed to delay deployment until January 19 while the FAA reviewed new data detailing the location and power of wireless transmitters in all 46 US markets where this service will be deployed.

Even with these new approvals, flights at some airports may still be affected. The FAA also continues to work with manufacturers to understand how radar altimeter data is used in other flight control systems. Passengers should check with their airlines if weather is forecast at a destination where 5G interference is possible.

The airplane models approved include some Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, MD-10/-11 and Airbus A310, A319, A320, A321, A330 and A350 models. FAA expects to issue more approvals in the coming days.

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