Emirates Restores U.S. Service as 777 Cleared to Fly in 5G Areas

 - January 20, 2022, 11:41 AM

Emirates Airline will restore full scheduled service to all its U.S. destinations by Saturday following formal notifications from the FAA and Boeing that lift the previous restriction on aircraft operations due to the possibility of 5G interference with radar altimeters, the airline said Thursday. Starting Friday, the airline plans to reinstate its Boeing 777 operations to Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Miami, Newark, Orlando, and Seattle.

Emirates services to Los Angeles, New York JFK, and Washington, D.C. remain unaffected. Flights to Boston, Houston, and San Francisco, for which the airline had temporarily deployed Airbus A380s on January 20 and 21, will return to Boeing 777 operations on January 22.  

The airline also operates Boeing 777 Freighters to Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Columbus, and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

On Wednesday the FAA approved another three altimeter models for use at airports near cell towers where U.S. telecommunications companies AT&T and Verizon plan to activate the 5G C-band, allowing for 62 percent of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at those airports. It also added the Boeing 777 to its list of airplane types with one of the five cleared altimeters, which also include the Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, and MD-10/-11 models and Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A330, A340, A350, and A380 models.

Earlier in the week, Emirates suspended its services to Boston, Miami, Houston, Orlando, Seattle, Dallas, Newark Liberty, Chicago O’Hare, and San Francisco based on the FAA advisory and Boeing recommendations on possible interference between the 5G antennas and aircraft.  

“We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers by the temporary suspension of flights to some of our U.S. destinations,” said Emirates president Tim Clark. “Safety will always be our top priority, and we will never gamble on this front. We welcome the latest development which enables us to resume essential transport links to the U.S. to serve travelers and cargo shippers. However, we are also very aware that this is a temporary reprieve, and a long-term resolution would be required. Emirates will continue to work closely with the aircraft manufacturers and relevant regulators to ensure the safety and continuity of our services.”

On Wednesday Clark lambasted U.S. regulators for their failure to settle the issue far earlier, calling the 5G rollout process “utterly irresponsible.”