Risk of disruption for air travel at summer holiday peak as US refuses to budge on 5G change

Air travel could be disrupted during the summer holiday peak, according to airlines, after the US refused to budge on a deadline for adding new sensors to planes.

The sensors are to ensure 5G wireless technology does not interfere with airplane altimeters, which are instruments used for measuring altitude – particularly crucial for bad-weather landings.

Pete Buttigieg, the US transportation secretary, said on Tuesday that the Biden administration does not plan to give airlines more time to upgrade altimeters.

Last year, tech companies Verizon and AT&T had come to an agreement to delay the rollout of 5G technology until 1 July 2023 to allow airlines time to retrofit their altimeters.

The decision came after several previous delays.

However, last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also said it did not plan to extend the deadline before new rules take effect.

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