With summer comes the holidays, and with the holidays a series of bogeymen resurface. Including, for example, that of scam emails, which we dealt with in another article.
Or that of missing the flight. Don’t worry: this will practically not be possible, because it seems that all flights will be delayed or canceled this summer.
Here, perhaps we exaggerated with this statement, but only a little. Why if we take a look at several articles released in the last few hours, there is a common concept, whether it is Italy, Europe or even the United States. And that is that it will be a summer of delayed flights. Or, in the worst case scenario, that they won’t leave at all. And the great thing is that each newspaper gives different reasons. We therefore have the task of summarizing, and of understanding why, for those who will fly, it is appropriate to say that warm months lie ahead.
A summer of delayed flights: the case of Italy
For this sad overview, we have decided to start from our country and then move on to a European gaze, and finally see what could happen in the USA.
There are already many flights delayed in the major Italian airports in June, which officially opens the summer season.
Our airports suffer from problems on a global scale. In the month of June, for example, there are more than 800 aircraft movements at Rome Fiumicino, and almost 700 at Milan Malpensa. Well: delays in the last few days in both airports have averaged around 300 a day. A percentage close to half as far as Malpensa is concerned.
It’s true: the data doesn’t tell us about the extent of the delay (5 minutes are bearable, 5 hours already less). But the share of flights involved is truly remarkable.
The Italian company in May 2022 was the fourth in Europe for flights on time, i.e. with a delay of less than 14 minutes. On-time landings had been 87.14%. In May of this year, however, with less than 73% of flights on time, the company dropped out of the top ten.
Delayed flights in Europe: the causes
But we said that delayed flights are a community problem.
According to Eurocontrol, in the week from 15 to 21 June punctual flights in Europe were just 57.4%. In our country the average of 54.1% is lower than the European one. What are the reasons for the many delayed flights, in Italy and in Europe?
The causes are different. One problem is a sort of “clog” caused by the closure of Ukrainian airspace.
In recent days, a massive NATO exercise over Germany, which lasted from 12 to 23 June, also had an impact. Then the strikes, by various professional figures: air traffic controllers, pilots, flight personnel, etc.
Furthermore, there was a delay in the delivery of the new planes. Let’s add the bad weather, hence the need to extend the flight, accumulating delay. Not forgetting that the increase in turbulence is one of the signs of the climate emergency.
The United States, the chaos of flights and 5G
The situation becomes even more complicated if we look at the United States.
Where the problem of delayed or canceled flights will increase starting from the month of July.
Here the main cause is a catchphrase that has recently been passed over in silence. A new technology to which phantom nefarious powers have been attributed too hastily: 5G. Which has given birth to such a large number of conspiracy theories as to… deserve our ad hoc article.
However, it seems that 5G really interferes with the automatic landing systems of flights, and this is why air traffic in the states could be close to the tailspin.
5G and flights
The two US agencies involved are the FCC (which deals with telecommunications) and the FAA (which manages aviation).
The FCC has assigned 5G frequencies of 3.7 to 4 GHz to telephone companies. This is the so-called C-band.
It must be said that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had already reported the possibility of interference with flight instruments for some time. The dispute began in 2015, and we told you about it in an article last year.
And now it seems certain that those specific 5G frequencies create a disturbance action towards the altimeter on board many aircraft. More precisely, a precision altimeter that calculates the height of the aircraft above the ground, indispensable tool in case of automatic emergency landing. As, for example, in situations of poor visibility.
A compromise had been reached: C-band would not be used near airports until altimeters less sensitive to 5G replaced the old ones. But the deal expires on July 1, and currently 20% of the planes used for domestic flights and 35% for international flights still have not had their equipment replaced.
Delayed or canceled flights will therefore be inevitable.