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United States President Joe Biden and his administration
announced that it would not extend the July 1 deadline for airlines to make the
necessary upgrades to avoid potential interference from 5G wireless technology.
According to Reuters.com,
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told carriers in the U.S. on Tuesday that
the deadline to update airplane altimeters to avoid interference with modern
technology would not be moved.
Buttigieg said that while airlines have made progress on the
upgrades, he urged the companies to “work aggressively to continue retrofitting
airplanes.” The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also announced last week
it would not extend the July 1 deadline.
The altimeters in planes are used to assist in bad-weather
landings, and the 5G wireless technology reportedly causes issues with the
instrumentation. Starting on July 1, carriers will not be able to make certain
landings in low-visibility conditions without upgraded altimeters.
Several major airlines in the U.S. have pushed for a deadline
extension, with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) blaming “supply
chain issues” as the reason that many planes won’t receive the upgrade before
the busy summer travel season.
In response, FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said that planes
that do not have the approved changes by July 1 could be forced to divert
landings in low-visibility conditions, while they will not be approved to fly
at all starting next year.
The FAA also proposed seven airworthiness directives for the
4,800 registered Boeing planes in the U.S. and 14,600 worldwide impacted by the
required changes. The manufacturer said it would continue to “ensure long-term
stability and help mitigate operational restrictions.”
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