Despite concerns of potential travel disruptions, the US government will not extend the deadline for airlines to retrofit their planes with new sensors to mitigate possible 5G interference, according to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The deadline of July 1st remains in place, despite warnings from airlines that they may not be able to meet it, potentially leading to grounded planes.
The Federal Aviation Administration and aviation companies have expressed concerns about potential interference from C-Band spectrum 5G wireless with aircraft altimeters, which measure a plane’s height above the ground. Buttigieg urged airlines to work diligently to meet the deadline during a call with them on Tuesday.
Last year, major tech companies like Verizon and AT&T agreed to delay the rollout of 5G technology until July 1st, 2023, to provide airlines with more time to retrofit their planes. The International Air Transport Association has criticized the decision not to extend the deadline, stating that supply chain issues and an estimated $638m cost make it unlikely that all planes can be upgraded by July 1st, leading to potential operational disruptions during the peak summer travel season.
In the past, airlines have expressed their desire for 5G signals to be banned from the FAA-defined affected airport runways, covering approximately two miles.
Telecom firms have invested billions of dollars in upgrading their networks to implement 5G technology, which they claim provides faster internet services and better connectivity.
Tech companies have maintained that 5G is secure and have criticized the aviation industry for exaggerating the risks and presenting misleading information.