IATA expressed strong disappointment with the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) announcement today on a 5G aircraft retrofit timetable. The FAA plans to require airlines to replace or upgrade FAA-approved radio altimeters on large commercial aircraft by July 2023 in order to protect against potential interference to aviation safety systems from the rollout of 5G near US airports. In contrast to the FAA statement, there is no consensus among impacted airlines that making the July 2023 deadline is possible, particularly given that the FAA has not yet approved solutions and the systems providers cannot guarantee availability of the new equipment within this time frame. All parties are committed to safety, but ad hoc unilateral and unrealistic pronouncements will not achieve this goal. All stakeholders need to work together to define solutions and deadlines that reflect reality and preserve safety.

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