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Finnair Suspends Route Due to GPS Interference Concerns

GPS "spoofing" continues to be a concern for airlines operating in certain regions.

A Finnair A320 in Austria. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Finnair announced on Monday that it will suspend daily flights between Helsinki and Tartu, Estonia from April 29 until May 31, citing concerns about GPS interference in the region. The airline says the suspension is necessary to allow Tartu Airport to implement an “alternative approach” method for landings that does not rely on GPS.

“Flight safety is always our top priority,” said Jari Paajanen, Finnair’s Director of Operations. “As the approach to Tartu currently requires a GPS signal, we cannot fly there in the event of GPS interference.”

The current approach methods used at Tartu Airport depend on a GPS signal. However, GPS interference, which has become more common in the area recently, can disrupt these methods and prevent safe landings. Last week, two Finnair flights to Tartu were forced to divert back to Helsinki due to GPS interference, the carrier said in a news release.

Paajanen emphasized that Finnair’s aircraft have other navigation systems that can be used when GPS is unavailable, and that pilots are trained to handle situations with GPS interference. However, Tartu currently lacks a suitable alternative approach method that does not rely on GPS.

The one-month suspension is intended to give Tartu Airport time to implement such a system. Finnair is the only airline operating international flights to Tartu.

The airline added that it has seen an increase in GPS interference events since 2022, especially in regions such as the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Eastern Mediterranean. Other carriers – including airBaltic – voiced similar concerns in recent months. Airlines and other industry stakeholders have pressed regulators for a solution.

Ryan Ewing
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  • Ryan Ewing

    Ryan founded AirlineGeeks.com back in February 2013 and has amassed considerable experience in the aviation sector. His work has been featured in several publications and news outlets, including CNN, WJLA, CNET, and Business Insider. During his time in the industry, he's worked in roles pertaining to airport/airline operations while holding a B.S. in Air Transportation Management from Arizona State University along with an MBA. Ryan has experience in several facets of the industry from behind the yoke of a Cessna 172 to interviewing airline industry executives. Ryan works for AirlineGeeks' owner FLYING Media, spearheading coverage in the commercial aviation space.

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