5G Deadline Looms: Airline Passengers May Face July 1st Delays

5G Deadline Looms: Airline Passengers May Face July 1st Delays

In a rather perplexing turn of events, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg issued a warning on Friday that airline delays or cancellations might ensue starting from July 1st, unless the remaining passenger jets manage to upgrade their altimeters to combat the disruptive influence of 5G technology. This revelation stems from a report by The Wall Street Journal, which emphasizes the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) stance on potential interference between 5G C-band signals and the radio wave emitters used by passenger jets to gauge their proximity to the ground during low-visibility landings, a crucial reliance for pilots.

Curiously, although airlines are not strictly obligated to implement the new equipment until February 2024, those passenger jets lacking certification for operation in the presence of C-band 5G signals by the onset of July will be barred from landing in specific low-visibility scenarios.

As it stands, a majority of the domestic US airline fleet has taken proactive measures, with over 80 percent of planes already undergoing the necessary upgrades. However, a rather astounding 65 percent of international jets bound for the US remain in need of rectification. The International Air Transport Association, a global airline group, conveyed its assurance to WSJ that carriers would strive to circumvent disruptions, emphasizing their inclination toward aircraft equipped with the requisite altimeters for flights to the US. Notably, Air India has affirmed that all its planes have been duly equipped with the required technology.

Broadly speaking, the article postulates that airlines anticipate negligible impact from this development. Most US airlines assert their expectation to have their entire fleets fully upgraded by July 1st, although both Delta Air Lines and JetBlue will fall short of this target. According to the WSJ report, Delta Air Lines still has 190 planes awaiting upgrades, while JetBlue has 17 planes pending. The Airlines for America trade association has attributed these difficulties in meeting the deadline to prevailing global supply chain issues.

In 2021, the Federal Communications Commission, AT&T, and Verizon found themselves entangled in a protracted dispute with the FAA regarding the expansion of 5G technology. The FAA voiced concerns over potential interference with aviation equipment posed by 5G C-band signals, leading to a suspension of the full-scale rollout of the critical band, which seeks to strike a balance between the pervasive yet sluggish low-band 5G and the easily stifled but ultrafast millimeter wave 5G. Originally paused until January 2022, the expansion encountered further delays, with subsequent deadlines pushed back to July 5th, 2022, and eventually settling on July 1st of this year.

Presently, the only flights that may encounter setbacks are those onboard planes that have yet to install the equipment designed to mitigate 5G interference. These setbacks would be particularly evident during low-visibility landings. For instance, a spokesperson from JetBlue informed WSJ that limited consequences might manifest in Boston on days marked by poor visibility, commencing from July 1st.

It remains to be seen how the situation unfolds, with airlines grappling to address the challenges posed by the impending 5G-C band intersection, while striving to ensure minimal disruption to air travel and passenger experience.

5G Deadline Looms: Airline Passengers May Face July 1st Delays

5G Deadline Looms

Also watch: Behind the Scenes: Jennifer Lawrence’s Unexpected Garlic Kisses with Liam Hemsworth

Leave a Comment