Finnish carrier suspends Estonia flights after GPS interference prevents 2 landings

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Finland’s national carrier Finnair said Monday it is temporarily suspending flights to Estonia’s second largest city for a month after two of its planes were prevented from landing in Tartu because of GPS disruptions.

The cause of the GPS interference that forced the two flights to return to Helsinki last Thursday and Friday was not immediately known, but Estonian officials blame GPS jamming in the region on Russia.

Plane approaches to Tartu Airport currently rely on GPS signals, said Finnair, which is the only airline to fly into that city. But there there are other navigational tools that can be used, and the airline said it would suspend daily flights there from April 29 to May 31 so that an alternate solution can be installed at the airport.

“Most airports use alternative approach methods, but some airports, such as Tartu, only use methods that require a GPS signal to support them,” said Jari Paajanen, Finnair’s director of operations.

Finnair said GPS interference has been increasing over the past two years. “Finnair pilots have reported interference especially near Kaliningrad, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean,” the company said.

Paajanen said when the GPS isn’t being relied upon for airport approaches, disruptions to the service don’t typically result in safety issues. “Our pilots are well aware of the issue, and the aircraft have other navigation systems that can be used when the GPS system is unserviceable,” Paajanen said.

However, Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said Monday that jamming carried out by Russia is so dangerous that sooner or later it will cause a crash, the Baltic News Service said

“So this is a deliberate action that interferes with our lives lived in a dangerous situation and this can be considered as a hybrid attack,” Tsahkna told Estonian broadcaster ERR.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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