The FAA says if airlines get a break on the timing of ADS-B compliance, it won't spread to GA. In a statement issued to AVweb late Thursday, the agency confirmed it's considering an application from Airlines for America (A4A) to allow an extra five years for full compliance by the operators of up to 6,000 airliners because it says the gear necessary to comply (WAAS capability) won't be available in time. The agency has not made a decision on the application but regardless of what it decides on that, in a follow-up email the agency confirmed there are currently no plans for any extension for compliance for more than 250,000 general aviation aircraft that need new equipment. Both AOPA and EAA are aware of the issue. AOPA says the difference is that there are plenty of options available for GA owners to comply. The FAA statement follows in its entirety.
The FAA has completed the deployment of ADS-B ground radios and has called on aviation users to equip their aircraft in advance of the Jan 1, 2020 mandate. The air carrier community identified a concern with the availability and schedule for upgraded GPS receivers, which are one component of the ADS-B Out system.
Although many airlines equipped early on with GPS as part of the transition to satellite-based navigation, the early equippers do not have the latest GPS receivers. Those early-generation GPS receivers may experience brief outages of the FAA’s required performance for ADS-B Out. Airplane manufacturers are upgrading GPS receivers across airplane models, but have said the upgraded receivers will not be available until 2018 to 2020. Airlines for America (A4A), which represents many of the major airlines, has requested an exemption so airlines that equipped early can transition to the upgraded equipment over a five-year period. The airlines are proposing that the FAA could use backup radar or an airline could reschedule a flight if GPS outages are too frequent. The FAA is reviewing A4A’s petition and will consider all public comments before determining whether to grant or deny the petition.