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Airlines across the world, including the long-haul carrier Emirates, rushed Wednesday to cancel or change flights heading into the U.S. over an ongoing dispute about the rollout of 5G mobile phone technology near American airports.
Dubai-based Emirates, a key carrier for East-West travel, announced it would halt flights to Boston, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Newark, New Jersey, Orlando, Florida, San Francisco and Seattle over the issue beginning Wednesday. It said it would continue flights to Los Angeles, New York and Washington.
In its announcement, Emirates cited the cancellation as necessary due to “operational concerns associated with the planned deployment of 5G mobile network services in the U.S. at certain airports.”
“We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our U.S. services as soon as possible,” the state-owned airline said.
The United Arab Emirates successfully rolled out 5G coverage all around its airports without incident. But in the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration worries that the C-Band strand of 5G could interfere with aviation equipment.
Of particular concern in the 5G rollout appears to be the Boeing 777, a major workhouse for Emirates.
Japan's All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. said in a statement that the FAA “has indicated that radio waves from the 5G wireless service may interfere with aircraft altimeters.” Altimeters measure how high a plane is in the sky, a crucial piece of equipment for flying.
“Boeing has announced flight restrictions on all airlines operating the Boeing 777 aircraft, and we have cancelled or changed the aircraft for some flights to/from the U.S. based on the announcement by Boeing,” ANA said.
Chicago-based Boeing Co. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.