Airline Industry Asks for Delay Around 5G Retrofit

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UPDATE Major U.S. airlines working on retrofitting radio altimeters due to potential interference from 5G C-band wireless services are now asking for an extension, reported Reuters. According to a statement made by the aviation industry on Tuesday, airlines cannot fully meet deadlines to complete upgrades and urged Washington for a grace period through the end of 2023.

Several airlines and their manufacturers, including American, Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, aviation unions, and others, signed a letter backing the FAA’s extension request. According to the letter sent to the White House, global supply chain issues mean “air carriers will likely be unable to fully meet either the December 2022 deadlines for smaller regional aircraft and many large transports or the July 2023 retrofit deadline.”

Reuters reported that the letter noted since January, “the FAA has documented over 100 FAA incidents of potential 5G interference … Unfortunately, the U.S. government agencies do not appear to be on the same page with respect to these safety issues.” The letter continued, “inter-agency government progress appears to be at a stalemate while stakeholders are doing their part to address these issues.” Inside Towers reported earlier this fall that FAA acting Administrator Billy Nolen said the agency wants the FCC to mandate voluntary mitigations both AT&T and Verizon agreed to earlier in 2022, to include 19 smaller telecoms and other spectrum holders.

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