AVOCA, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A new development in the battle between major U.S. airlines and telecommunication companies over the planned launch of new 5G wireless services.

Airlines warn of catastrophic disruptions and want the new service to be banned within two miles of airport runways.

Fliers headed to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport Wednesday morning, ready to board their flights.

“Excellent, I’m very excited, I’ve never been to Phoenix, so I can’t wait. So many things to do over there. So many places to see and travel,” said
Michael Acevedo, Hazleton.

The travelers I spoke with that still chose to fly, didn’t seem too concerned with the 5G rollout, citing some overnight changes that put their minds at ease.

Fearing massive flight disruptions as soon as Wednesday morning, an 11th-hour compromise to a bureaucratic standoff that had put cell phone providers and airlines on a collision course, with the white house stepping in to mediate.

“Certainly minimizing flight disruptions ensuring safety and travel is a top priority,” explained Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary.

Thanks to a compromise, AT&T and Verizon are only activating approximately 90% of their new ultra-fast 5G wireless networks as planned.

But cell towers within a two-mile radius of many of the nation’s busiest airports will remain off-line specifically to avoid interference with cockpit systems that help pilots land in bad weather and low visibility.

“I think it would impact aviation if we do get a high negative impact from the 5g network and we really won’t know until it’s deployed,” said
James Gallagher, President, Aviation Technology.

This Verizon map shows its new 5G technology only hit some areas in Scranton, miles away from the airport.

AT&T’s map, on the other hand, doesn’t show its new network anywhere in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

Experts say all that’s left to do now is wait.

“If you don’t have to travel on Wednesday, don’t. If you can postpone your trip even 24 hours, you may be better off. I think Wednesday is going to be a very chaotic day,” said Henry Harteveldt, Airline Industry Analyst.

The threat of 5G-related flight disruptions comes after a trying month for flyers who have suffered through tens of thousands of delays and cancelations from weather to staffing issues due to COVID.

As of now, all remaining flights for Wednesday are on time at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and the Lehigh Valley International Airport.

If you’re flying out of, or into Philadelphia, you should check the status of your flight, because several have been canceled.