Russia threatens Europe’s civil aviation

GPS signal interference forced Finnair civil planes to turn back for two days in a row.

Päivit Tallquist, the Director of Public Relations at Finnair, stated that due to interference, the Finnish national air carrier’s scheduled flights from Helsinki to the Estonian city of Tartu did not depart on the scheduled nights of Thursday to Friday and Friday to Saturday.

According to Tallqvist, GPS interference is commonplace and does not cause situations like this. Airports usually have several approach systems and do not necessarily need a GPS signal. “Tartu Airport is one of the few airports where there are no other methods of approach,” Tallqvist commented.

Reports of similar GPS problems are not new. Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, particularly around the Kaliningrad region, there have been reports of GPS interference in Europe.

Planes reported about 46,000 instances of problems with their satellite navigation over the Baltics between August 2023 and the end of March 2024, according to flight-log data from Many of these were likely to have been jamming and spoofing attacks.

As the German Defense Ministry stated, the Russian Armed Forces are very likely to have been behind this GPS interference in the Baltic region.

“The persistent disruptions to the global navigation satellite system are very likely of Russian origin and are based on disturbances in the electromagnetic spectrum, including those originating in the Kaliningrad Oblast,” a ministry spokesperson said.

Russia may have jammed the GPS signal on British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps’ plane earlier in March. On March 14, while Shapps was returning from Poland, Russia blocked the plane’s satellite signal for about half an hour as it flew near the Kaliningrad region of Russia. The plane had to use alternative methods to determine its location because mobile phones could not connect to the Internet.

This behavior by the Russian military poses a threat to civil aviation throughout Europe and could lead to catastrophic consequences, with many casualties among innocent passengers. The only way to protect Europe is to force Moscow to abandon its aggressive actions. While Moscow continues its war against Ukraine, any changes in the Kremlin do not seem possible. Thus, Europe’s security directly requires continued military support for Ukraine.

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