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Emirates Cancels Flights To Nine US Cities Over 5G Concerns

Airlines have been pushing back against AT&T and Verizon's plans to launch 5G service near airports.

Citing risks posed by AT&T  (T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report and Verizon  (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report's proposed 5G wireless service near airports, Emirates airline just cancelled service to nine American cities.

On Tuesday, the Dubai-based airline announced that it would not be running flights to Boston, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Houston, Miami, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco or Seattle as of Jan. 19. Service to New York's JFK, Los Angeles International Airport and Washington DC's Dulles International Airport will remain unaffected for now.

"We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our US services as soon as possible," the airline announced on Tuesday.

What Does 5G Have To Do With It?

The two largest phone providers in the U.S., AT&T and Verizon had been planning to launch the fifth generation (5G) of cellular service across the country on Wednesday. 

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Earlier this month, the Transportation Department requested that they delay installing 5G networks within two miles of airports to give regulators more time to examine how wireless towers transmitting extra-strong 5G signals could interfere with flights and cargo deliveries. In a letter to Transportation Secretary Petter Buttigieg, the CEOs of some of the country's biggest airlines warned that a hasty rollout could cause "the nation's commerce [to...] grind to a halt."

While the two companies had initially declined a delay, AT&T and Verizon agreed to push back the launch at a select number of airports by Wednesday  — a move that was quickly lauded by President Joseph Biden.

AT&T And Verizon Agree To Delay

"This agreement will avoid potentially devastating disruptions to passenger travel, cargo operations, and our economic recovery, while allowing more than 90% of wireless tower deployment to occur as scheduled," Biden said in a statement."

But even despite the delay, Emirates decided to pull back on many of its services to the U.S. for the time being — in the announcement, it has not mentioned how the pushback affects its plans going forward.

"We are working closely with aircraft manufacturers and the relevant authorities to alleviate operational concerns, and we hope to resume our U.S. services as soon as possible," the airline said.