Skip to content
Home » Airlines » Finnair Flights Return To Estonia As Tartu Airport Tackles GPS Interference

Finnair Flights Return To Estonia As Tartu Airport Tackles GPS Interference

Finnair will resume flights to Tartu Airport in Estonia on June 1st. The airline had suspended service in late April because GPS interference affected flights. Previously, the airport depended only on GPS signals for approach.

Finnair ATR
Finnair ATR

Tartu Airport recently updated its approach systems. Now, some flights can use radio signals from ground stations. Aviation has long used these ground-based methods, which remain unaffected by GPS interference. Many airports still employ these traditional approaches as alternatives to GPS-based approaches.

“Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS) has done an excellent job in implementing the alternative method. I want to thank all our partners in Estonia for solving this matter so swiftly,” says Jari Paajanen, Vice President, Operations Control at Finnair.

Finnair operates two daily flights to Tartu six days a week. Finnair’s partner, Norra, uses ATR aircraft for these flights.

GPS Interference Incidents on the Rise

A return to analog methods is becoming increasingly necessary due to a rise in GPS spoofing and jamming across certain regions.

Since 2022, GPS interference has increased, but it has not compromised flight safety. Finnair’s aircraft systems can detect this interference, allowing pilots to switch to other navigation systems if necessary. Both Finnair and Norra pilots understand GPS interference and prepare for it accordingly.

Aviation is Addressing the Risks of GPS Interference

In January, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the International Air Transport Association conducted a workshop at EASA’s headquarters. They aimed to address the risks from recent incidents of spoofing and jamming that interfere with aircraft positioning data.

“GNSS systems offer tremendous advantages to aviation in increasing the safety of operations in a busy shared airspace,” said EASA Acting Executive Director Luc Tytgat. “But we have seen a sharp rise in attacks on these systems, which poses a safety risk. EASA is tackling the risk specific to these new technologies. We immediately need to ensure that pilots and crews can identify the risks and know how to react and land safely. In the medium term, we will need to adapt the certification requirements of the navigation and landing systems. For the longer term, we need to ensure we are involved in the design of future satellite navigation systems. Countering this risk is a priority for the Agency.”

“Airlines are seeing a significant rise in incidents of GNSS interference,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General. “To counter this, we need coordinated collection and sharing of GNSS safety data; universal procedural GNSS incident guidance from aircraft manufacturers; a commitment from States to retain traditional navigation systems as backup in cases where GNSS are spoofed or jammed. In actioning these items, the support and resources of EASA and other governmental authorities are essential. And airlines will be critical partners. And whatever actions are taken, they must be the focal point of the solution as they are the front line facing the risk.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner