It's unclear how the impending upgrade of 5G wireless service may affect air travel across the country, including flights arriving and departing from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Late Monday, AT&T and Verizon announced a delay in the planned rollout for two weeks as they work with regulators and airlines to minimize the potential impact on flight operations.

Patrick Hogan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) which operates MSP, said it's unclear where the closest 5G tower is in relation to the airport.

"Right now, we don't know what impact, if any, 5G might have on MSP operations during low-visibility weather," Hogan said in an e-mail. "We have concerns, but this is uncharted territory."

At issue is whether cellphone towers emitting 5G radio signals near airports could affect the equipment pilots use to land airplanes in bad weather. Pilots rely on radio altimeters to guide aircraft while landing under low-visibility circumstances.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said that flight operations may be restricted in areas where "5G interference is possible."

Major airlines and pilots have objected to the 5G introduction by the wireless giants, saying signal interference from the upgrade could affect the navigation systems aboard aircraft. It's a claim hotly disputed by the wireless providers.

"We are hopeful that this delay will enable the wireless industry and the broader aviation community to work together on effective solutions that will ensure that every passenger and cargo flight arrives safely without severe disruptions to aviation operations," said Capt. Joe DePete, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, the union representing pilots.

The prospect of possible delays related to the introduction of 5G was averted as hundreds of flights have been cancelled across the country due to omicron-fueled employee shortages at the airlines and inclement winter weather.

On Thursday, it appeared the holiday air travel onslaught had finally slowed at MSP, with 27 flights canceled and 32 delayed.

The planned 5G upgrade and controversy surrounding it has lingered for several years.

Airlines for America, a Washington, D.C.-based group representing the airline industry, said if the 5G rollout had proceeded as planned in 2019, about 345,000 U.S. airline passenger flights would have been delayed, diverted or canceled, affecting some 32 million passengers.

But CTIA, a Washington, D.C.-based industry organization representing the wireless communications industry, disagrees with that claim. The 5G networks, which use radio waves called the "C-band spectrum," operate safely without causing harmful interference to aviation equipment, the group said on its website.

CTIA cites as proof evidence of active 5G networks worldwide, a study by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and nearly two decades of analysis by international regulators.

"Any delay in activating this spectrum risks America's competitiveness and jeopardizes our ability to ensure global 5G leadership," CTIA noted.

The FAA said on its website that it "believes the expansion of 5G and aviation will safely co-exist. We are confident with ongoing collaboration we will reach this shared goal."