If you’re looking to travel from the US this summer, expect a little chaos – the government has refused to delay the deadline for planes to be retrofitted to prevent interference from the growing 5G network.
The deadline was set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for July 1 after a series of previous delays, but Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg has now confirmed that July is final in a call reported by Reuters, despite fears it will interfere with summer travel plans.
As a result, many airlines have said they cannot meet the deadline and may be forced to ground flights.
The FAA has also imposed a new set of rules on Boeing aircraft that will affect around 20,000 aircraft worldwide, enforcing new safety precautions and a ban on landing in specific areas for fear of 5G interference, reports the BBC.
The concern stems from the recent rollout of 5G wireless networks, which use frequencies close to those used by altimeters, a critical instrument that helps pilots measure their altitude. There have been fears that 5G signals could interfere with altimeters and lead to inaccurate altitude readings, potentially posing a safety risk.
While 5G has been successfully rolled out across the world and has not demonstrated any problems with airliners, the FAA state that European countries use a lower power signal and place antennas away from major airports, which may differ from the proposed plans of the US 5G network.
The FAA has emphasized that this is a precautionary measure and that there is no evidence of any actual safety issues related to 5G interference with aircraft systems; tech companies have also stated that 5G should not cause problems and have accused airlines of “fearmongering”. Nevertheless, the agency claims it has taken this step to ensure the safety of air travel and to address any potential risks that may arise from the rollout of new technologies.