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International airlines resume US-bound flights after 5G rollout caused confusion

International airlines resumed US-bound flights Thursday following a limited rollout of 5G service that resulted in minor disruptions to schedules. Dubai-based Emirates was one of several foreign airlines to alter US service over fears that 5G service deployed Wednesday could interfere with sensitive instruments used to measure altitude on some planes, including the popular Boeing 777 model. Emirates said it would reinstate flights to Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Miami, Newark, Orlando and Seattle beginning Friday. The decision followed the Federal Aviation Administration’s announcement that more plane models, including the Boeing 777, were cleared to operate. “We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers by the temporary suspension of flights to some of our US destinations.” Emirates Airline President Tim Clark said in a statement. “Safety will always be our top priority, and we will never gamble on this front.” Clark added that Emirates was “very aware that this is a temporary reprieve, and a long-term resolution would be required.” The Emirates president previously referred to the US’s handling of the 5G rollout as “utterly irresponsible.” Emirates flights to Boston, Houston and San Francisco would resume use of the Boeing 777 model on Saturday after switching to another model. Japan Airlines said it would resume US flights starting Thursday after it “received confirmation from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) that there is no longer a problem with the operation of the Boeing 777.” “We will continue to monitor the situation closely and if there is any impact on our flight operations, we will promptly announce it on our website,” the airline added. Air India noted its flights entering and leaving the US were “affected” during the last two days, but said it would resume normal service by Friday. “We would like to inform our passengers traveling to/from destinations in the USA that effective 0001hrs of 21st January 2022 normal flights operations will recommence to/from USA,” Air India’s Twitter account said. Germany-based Lufthansa, which canceled one US-bound flight on Wednesday and initially said it would switch plane models for others flights, also confirmed a return to normal operations. The German airline said it would “operate normally and according to the schedule with the previously planned aircraft types for their flights to the US,” CNN reported. Airlines canceled less than 400 US flights on Wednesday after AT&T and Verizon agreed to temporarily limit their 5G launch to avoid major airports. Multiple carriers said they experienced few interruptions to their operations. The main trade group representing US airlines said the decision to limit the rollout helped to “avert catastrophic disruptions” to air travel.

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