Skip Navigation

Can 5G Really Impact Air Travel? OU-Tulsa Professor Explains

Can 5G Really Impact Air Travel? OU-Tulsa Professor Explains

Stock image commercial airplane takeoff at sunset

The nationwide rollout of new 5G wireless technology is getting pushback from the airline industry. Communications companies AT&T and Verizon have delayed their 5G deployment near airports after aviation authorities expressed concern about potential interference with flight instruments.

Hazem Refai, M.S.E.E., Ph.D., Williams Chair of Telecommunication and Networking for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at OU-Tulsa, has a background in working with similar technologies. Refai recently visited with Tulsa’s News on 6 to help explain the issue.

Refai said the biggest concern is that the 5G networks around airports could interfere with a plane’s altimeter, a navigation instrument that measures altitude and helps pilots land safely in low-visibility situations. He said this has the potential to cause a safety issue and should be investigated.

“I am relieved that at least we are now breaking the deployment around the airports, looking into it more carefully to make sure that no interference could cause any catastrophic event around the airport,” Refai said.

Refai hopes that with the delay in deployment, the issue can be examined more closely, and more research can be conducted to ensure safe flights for everyone.

Watch Refai’s full interview with the News on 6 here.


By Bonnie Rucker

Article Published:  Wednesday, January 26, 2022