Do 5G telecoms pose a threat to airline safety?

A contract crew from Verizon installs 5G telecommunications equipment on a tower in Orem, Utah, U.S. December 3, 2019. (REUTERS)
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A contract crew from Verizon installs 5G telecommunications equipment on a tower in Orem, Utah, U.S. December 3, 2019. (REUTERS)
Do 5G telecoms pose a threat to airline safety?
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A China Airlines cargo jet lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in New York. (AP)
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Updated 05 January 2022

Do 5G telecoms pose a threat to airline safety?

A contract crew from Verizon installs 5G telecommunications equipment on a tower in Orem, Utah, U.S. December 3, 2019. (REUTERS)
  • The companies have faced pressure from the White House, airlines and aviation unions to delay the deployment amid concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters

WASHINGTON: US telecom companies and airlines have been fighting for weeks over the potential impact of 5G wireless services on aircraft, in stark contrast to the rollout of new-generation services elsewhere, which has broadly gone ahead without airing new safety concerns.
Here is some background on the dispute, in which Verizon Communications and AT&T agreed on Monday to a two-week delay https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/talks-continue-near-d... in using newly acquired wireless spectrum, drawing back from a standoff that threatened to disrupt flights. The agreement promises to avert most, but not all, potential disruption to air travel from 5G deployment

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
The US auctioned mid-range 5G bandwidth to mobile phone companies in early 2021 in the 3.7-3.98 GHz range on the spectrum, known as C-Band, for about $80 billion.
US aviation industry groups in recent months stepped up concerns and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a formal warning in November of the risk of interference with flight equipment.
In the airline industry, radar altimeters, which measure altitude, operate in the 4.2-4.4 GHz range and there are concerns that there is not a big enough buffer from the frequencies to be used by the telecoms companies.
The companies have faced pressure from the White House, airlines and aviation unions to delay the deployment amid concerns about potential interference of 5G with sensitive aircraft electronics like radio altimeters.

WHY IS THAT POTENTIALLY IMPORTANT FOR AVIATION?
Radio altimeters help to minimize the risk of accidents or collisions by giving an accurate reading of the proximity to the ground. The readouts are also used to facilitate automated landings and to help detect dangerous currents called windshear.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES THE FREQUENCY MAKE?
In short, the higher the frequency in the spectrum, the faster the service. So in order to get full value from 5G, operators want to operate at higher frequencies.
Some of the C-Band spectrum auctioned in the United States had been used for satellite radio but the transition to 5G means there will be much more traffic.

IS THIS A PROBLEM ELSEWHERE?
Following years of international discussions, the European Union in 2019 set standards for mid-range 5G frequencies in the 3.4-3.8 GHz range.
They have been auctioned and taken into use in many of the bloc’s 27 member states so far without issue.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which oversees 31 states, said on Dec. 17 the latest discussion was specific to US airspace. “At this stage, no risk of unsafe interference has been identified in Europe,” it said.
AT&T and Verizon have agreed to adopt exclusion zones around many US airports similar to those used in France for six months.
FAA officials noted the spectrum used by France (3.6-3.8 GHz) sits further away from the spectrum (4.2-4.4 GHz) used for radio altimeters than in the United States and France’s power level for 5G is also much lower than what is authorized in the United States.
But Verizon said it will not use spectrum that closer than what France is using for several years.
In South Korea, the 5G mobile communication frequency is 3.42-3.7GHz band and there has been no report of interference with radio wave since commercialization of 5G in April 2019.
Currently, 5G mobile communication wireless stations are in operation near airports, but there have been no reports of problems.
CTIA, a US wireless trade group, said in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission that “wireless carriers in nearly 40 countries throughout Europe and Asia now use the C-Band for 5G, with no reported effects on radio altimeters that operate in the same internationally designated 4.2-4.4 GHz band.”
It added “each day US aircraft, carrying thousands of US citizens, land in these countries without incident and with no expression of concern by the FAA or foreign aviation regulators. This is the classic dog that did not bark. The laws of physics are no different in the United States than in Europe or Asia.”
But airlines had warned that without an agreement the safety precautions could disrupt up to 4 percent of daily flights. An airline group said the issue had the potential “to divert or cancel thousands of flights every day, thus disrupting millions of passenger reservations, causing substantial disruptions.”
United Airlines Chief Executive Scott Kirby said last month that left unresolved the interference issue would mean that at major US airports in the event of bad weather, cloud cover or even heavy smog “you could only do visual approaches essentially.”


Saudi sovereign wealth fund considers new hydrogen company; developing 70% of vision 2030 renewable target

Saudi sovereign wealth fund considers new hydrogen company; developing 70% of vision 2030 renewable target
Updated 20 May 2022

Saudi sovereign wealth fund considers new hydrogen company; developing 70% of vision 2030 renewable target

Saudi sovereign wealth fund considers new hydrogen company; developing 70% of vision 2030 renewable target

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is now establishing a new hydrogen company and it will be like a mediator in many of the PIF’s initiatives.

Speaking in a regional forum on ESG organized by the Future Investment Initiative in London, the governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said the sovereign wealth fund  plans to develop 70 percent of renewable energy targets under vision 2030.

The fund owns companies that are already developing hydrogen such as NEOM and Aramco. 

Rewilding Arabia
Return of the leopard is at the heart of plans to conserve and regenerate Saudi Arabia’s landscapes and wildlife
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PIF governor and BlackRock’s CEO leads discussions on ESG in emerging markets in FII’s first regional summit

PIF governor and BlackRock’s CEO leads discussions on ESG in emerging markets in FII’s first regional summit
Updated 20 May 2022

PIF governor and BlackRock’s CEO leads discussions on ESG in emerging markets in FII’s first regional summit

PIF governor and BlackRock’s CEO leads discussions on ESG in emerging markets in FII’s first regional summit

RIYADH: The Future Investment Initiative Foundation will host its first ever regional summit on Friday, in Rosewood London, England, entitled Inclusive Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance in Emerging Markets.

The most prominent participants in the event include the FII Chairman and Governor of the Public Investment Fund, Yasser Al-Rumayyan, Egypt’s Minister of Environment, Yasmine Fouad and Blackrock CEO Larry Fink.

The summit will bring together international investors, world leaders, thought leaders, policy makers, global CEOs, and chiefs of sustainability to discuss and shape the future of ESG, particularly in emerging markets.

“The planet has major problems with climate, with destruction of nature, peace and security. But we also have tremendous resources, including our common humanity,” Executive Director of the FII Institute, Richard Attias said.

“We believe that ESG is an important tool to bring us together and channel capital to meet these challenges,” he said.

Using ESG standards to make investment decisions is a global boom, with assets expected to reach $53 trillion, about a third of global assets under management, by 2025, a statement showed.

Still, the lack of a framework for the effective implementation of ESG in emerging economies represent a stumbling block for investors. 

The FII says it will finally have the tool needed to develop sustainable investment strategies in these markets, through its proprietary measurement framework, developed in collaboration with investors, global companies, and FII’s strategic partners.

The Foundation works to impact humanity across four focus areas: artificial intelligence, robotics, education, health care, and sustainability.

The event is part of a series of events hosted by the Foundation, which will culminate in the sixth edition of the annual FII Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in October.

 

The PIF view

The PIF understands that being engaged in ESG is the right thing to do, Rania Nashar, head of compliance and governance at the fund, told the conference.

PIF companies are announcing emission reductions but it's not only about the destination, it is about the journey, she added.

“We approach the ESG through multiple aspects. Through creating platforms, sponsoring events and launching initiatives,” she said.


China’s April Saudi oil imports soar 38 percent on year, Russian oil up 4 percent

China’s April Saudi oil imports soar 38 percent on year, Russian oil up 4 percent
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Updated 20 May 2022

China’s April Saudi oil imports soar 38 percent on year, Russian oil up 4 percent

China’s April Saudi oil imports soar 38 percent on year, Russian oil up 4 percent

China’s crude oil imports from top supplier Saudi Arabia soared 38 percent in April from a year earlier, hitting the highest monthly volume since May 2020, according to Reuters’ calculations based on official Chinese customs data.

Saudi shipments amounted to 8.93 million tons last month, equivalent to 2.17 million barrels per day, according to data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs.

The hefty purchases, with trades completed mostly in February, compare with 1.61 million bpd in March and 1.57 million bpd a year earlier.

Imports from second-largest supplier Russia rose a more modest 4 percent last month from a year earlier, with cargoes booked before western governments toughened sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Russian oil arrivals in April totalled 6.55 million tons, or 1.59 million bpd, data showed, up slightly from 1.5 million bpd in March and 1.53 million bpd a year earlier.

China’s overall crude oil imports last month rose nearly 7 percent on the year, its first rise in three months, although widespread COVID-19 lockdowns crimped fuel demand and dampened refinery output.

Friday’s data showed zero imports in April from Iran. However, customs next month is likely to report for May the import of nearly 2 million barrels of Iranian oil that was being discharged this week into a reserve base in south China.

Despite US sanctions on Iran, China has kept taking Iranian oil passed off as supplies from other countries. The import levels are roughly equivalent to 7 percent of China’s total crude oil imports.

Iranian oil, often priced lower than competing grades, have squeezed out rival supplies such as from Brazil and West Africa.

Customs reported zero imports from Venezuela, as state oil firms shunned purchases since late 2019 for fear of falling afoul of secondary US sanctions.

Imports from Malaysia, often used as a transfer point in the last two years for oil originating from Iran and Venezuela, jumped 84 percent on year to 2.165 million tons, the second highest on record.


Saudi tourism ministry signs deals to boost localization program

 Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism signs two agreements. (Twitter/@Saudi_MT)
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism signs two agreements. (Twitter/@Saudi_MT)
Updated 20 May 2022

Saudi tourism ministry signs deals to boost localization program

 Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism signs two agreements. (Twitter/@Saudi_MT)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism has signed two agreements to enhance joint cooperation and support training and localization programs to qualify those wishing to work in the hospitality sector.
The move, which aims to support workers in the food, beverage and accommodation sectors, in support of achieving the Kingdom’s’ tourism human capacity development strategy.
Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Safir, director general of training and localization at the ministry, stressed that these two agreements aim to develop human resources in the tourism sector through quality training programs that will contribute to developing localized skills in the tourism sector.
Under the two agreements, which were signed with Kempinski Al-Othman Hotel and Carlton Al-Moaibed Hotel, the ministry will support dualifying Saudi nationals in the tourism sector within the “Your Future has Arrived” initiative.


Venture capital and microfinance firms should focus on startups, says Al Ahli Holding Group CEO

Venture capital and microfinance firms should focus on startups, says Al Ahli Holding Group CEO
Updated 20 May 2022

Venture capital and microfinance firms should focus on startups, says Al Ahli Holding Group CEO

Venture capital and microfinance firms should focus on startups, says Al Ahli Holding Group CEO

DUBAI: Mohamed Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Holding Group, said that startup businesses are an excellent opportunity for investment in venture capital funds and microfinance banks.

During an interview with Arab News at the Top CEO event in Dubai, Khammas Mohamed Khammas, CEO of Al Ahli Holding Group, highlighted that startups are a good investment idea because the “ticket size is smaller, and the product ranges are higher.”

Khammas pointed out the risks that arise for startups are not in their early stages but rather when they become successful.

“The challenge is not when they’re trying to have a major impact on the economy; the problems occur when they become successful. All of those are calculated risks,” he said.

Khammas continued to add that regardless of these risks, investing in new, innovative startups is “absolutely the best opportunity.”

Also, during his talk at the event, Khammas  urged banks to fund new and innovative products and ideas in the area after he shed light on how banks are hesitant to invest in creative ideas.