According to Reuters, Delta has successfully updated the radio altimeters in its active fleet of airplanes, and this upgrade will also be extended to aircraft undergoing scheduled maintenance. In response, Delta claims that this update will eliminate any weather-related limitations for their aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had previously expressed concerns that specific 5G signals might interfere with altimeters used by pilots for ground proximity measurements during low visibility conditions. Although altimeters and 5G cell towers operate on different parts of the spectrum, the FAA was worried about potential signal confusion in certain altimeters. This disagreement led to a dispute between telecommunications companies and the FAA regarding the activation of 5G networks and their signal strength in proximity to airports.
Ultimately, carriers managed to activate 5G signals in most areas, but they continued to restrict signal usage around airports until airlines could update their altimeters. Starting in July, airlines were prohibited from landing planes in certain low-visibility situations if their altimeters were not updated, prompting warnings from US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about possible flight delays and cancellations. Delta was a notable exception, with 190 aircraft still lacking the updated altimeters.
Now, with the completion of these altimeter updates for Delta’s aircraft, it appears that the 5G-airline dilemma has finally been resolved.