How The New 5G Technology Could Affect Air Travel

Sunday, January 23rd 2022, 10:44 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

The delayed 5G rollout [near airports] earlier this week made national headlines, and local experts are hoping to educate the public about why this is important for Oklahomans.

5G is a new technology that brings faster internet services and better connections.

AT&T and Verizon were planning to roll out this technology this past Wednesday but instead delayed it because of concern from the FAA that some of the signals from the 5G towers could cause interference.

"When you go to the airport, a lot of us go to WIFI and do our business and emails and so on," said OU-Tulsa professor Hazem Refai.

OU-Tulsa professor Dr. Hazem Refai said the biggest concern is that 5G would cause interference with the cockpit altitude controls of a plane.

Planes use a device called an altimeter to measure altitude based on the surrounding air pressure.

The 5G connection could disrupt the altimeter's functions, creating a dangerous situation for passengers.

"It becomes a safety issue," Refai said. "A big safety issue."

There are a number of new 5G towers in Tulsa, but Tulsa International Airport is not on the list of airports that could be affected.

We reached out to officials with the airport, and they say they haven't had any problems on their end but are aware of the situation.

Refai says he is just glad the airlines are taking the 5G interference threat seriously.

"I am relieved that at least were now breaking on and breaking the deployment around the airports.....looking into it more carefully to make sure that more interference could cause any catastrophic event around the airport," Refai said.

Refai says he hopes the delay will allow for more research to be done.