Buttigieg: July 1 Hard Deadline for 5G C-band Radalt Compliance

 - May 3, 2023, 1:44 PM

The July 1 deadline for airlines to complete 5G C-band tolerant radar altimeter upgrades/alternative methods of compliance will not be moved, according to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) previously noted that the deadline was unrealistic, given ongoing supply-chain issues, and said that the FAA had wildly underestimated the cost of compliance, which the trade association pegged at $638 million. The FAA had estimated $26 million.

Meanwhile, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen warned that airlines that fly noncompliant aircraft after the July 1 deadline will not be able to use low-visibility instrument approaches and, beginning in 2024, would not be able to operate in U.S. airspace. 

While some cell carriers have voluntarily agreed to signal-strength mitigation efforts around some airports through 2028, even that may not be enough to reduce travel disruptions, IATA warned, noting that the technological fixes to comply with the July 1 deadline were merely a temporary solution, while a new standard is being developed for radar altimeters and is due next year. 

IATA senior v-p Nick Careen classified the July 1 requirement as a “temporary holding action,” noting that, “under current scenarios, airlines will have to retrofit most of their aircraft twice in just five years. And with the standards for the second retrofit yet to be developed, we could easily be facing the same supply-chain issues in 2028 that we are struggling with today.”

Meanwhile, this morning the FAA proposed extending a series of airworthiness directives requiring amendments to the aircraft flight manuals of seven Boeing 747 models with regard to approved approaches and runway requirements in areas where 5G C-band interference is encountered.