The new equipment for older aircraft is the latest step in an ongoing dispute between major telecommunications companies and the Federal Aviation Administration, as regulators agree on additional measures aimed at reducing perceived safety risks caused by the 5G service.

Concerns are focused on interference – the frequencies used by radio altimeter systems, which are an important safety feature for landing aircraft, are close to those used by some types of 5G services. The FAA has long been concerned that older models of radio altimeters could be affected by the introduction of 5G, which potentially poses safety hazards when landing aircraft.

The deal, reached last week, outlines new requirements for aircraft operators with systems most likely to be affected to add RF filters to their aircraft, and sets a deadline of the end of 2022 for that work, according to a FAA statement. .

5G upgrade is expected by the end of the year

Telecommunications companies are mitigating potential disruptions by reducing transmission power at 5G access points in areas that are believed to be most likely to cause problems, but have set a July 5 deadline for those mitigations. With the new deal, the mitigation will continue until the end of 2022, when regional carriers are expected to complete their modernization.

Large airlines are expected to take a little longer to “immunize” their fleets against potential disruptions – FAA forecasts for July 2023 – but when that happens, telecoms are expected to be able to operate in a relatively unrestricted way. .

“Radio altimeter manufacturers are working at an unprecedented pace with Embraer, Boeing, Airbus and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to develop and test filters and mounting kits for these aircraft,” the FAA said in a statement. “Customers receive the first kits now. In most cases, the kits can be installed in a few hours at airline support facilities.”

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