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Mon, May 08, 2023

No Extension on July 1st Deadline for 5G-Inspired Retrofits

Biden Admin Rumored to Grant No Wiggle Room to Procrastinating Operators

The looming deadline to install compliant navigational equipment won't be extended, according to DoT Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

In a conference call with airlines, he urged them to work aggressively to bring their fleets into compliance before the July 1st deadline, backed up by an FAA warning that the administration has no plans to offer extensions. The rule requires aircraft to have updated radio altimeters that can safely operate accurately even in the vicinity of newly released 5G networks around the country - and finding such units remains a chore after years of uneven parts availability.

The International Air Transport Association weighed in on the matter, welcoming an agreement with a handful of US telecom operators to extend their voluntary 5G mitigation measures near 188 US airports. Under the new agreement, AT&T, T-Mobile, UScellular, and Verizon agreed to extend their measures until January 1, 2028, granting additional peace of mind for operators hoping to retain their instrument landing capabilities around the country. That agreement has no bearing on the FAA, however, merely safeguarding the real-world instrument operations near affected airports. Carriers are still on the hook to come into compliance before July 1st, 2023. The IATA was unimpressed with the overall handling of the 5G rollout on the part of regulators, saying that the issue was poorly understood, and the government's response was too opaque and poorly planned.

“Airlines did not create this situation. They are victims of poor government planning and coordination. Industry concerns about 5G, expressed for many years in the appropriate forums, were ignored and over-ridden. Half-measure solutions have been foisted upon airlines to implement at their own expense and with little visibility into their long-term viability. This extension is an opportunity for all stakeholders, including telcos, government regulators, airlines and equipment manufacturers, to work together for a fair and equitable solution,” said Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President Operations, Safety and Security.



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