Finnish plans were forced to turn around – Russia is singled out

Two Finnish planes have been forced to turn around during their journeys from Helsinki to Estonia.
The plane’s GPS signal was disrupted, making it impossible to land at the airport in the city of Tartu.
– The pilot said that an accurate GPS signal was required to approach Tartu at night. Such was not available due to interference from the neighbors to the east, a passenger told Estonian ERR.

The plane, which was on its way from Helsinki to Estonia’s second largest city, Tartu, on Friday evening was forced to turn around shortly before it was scheduled to land. The same thing happened the night before, reports Estonian ERR.

The signal was interrupted

The reason why the two Finnair planes had to turn is that the plane’s GPS signal was disrupted. Tallinn Airport states that the signal was disrupted during the flight and not in connection with landing.

– Our pilots are aware of GPS interference and the aircraft’s system detects them quickly. The plan uses several sources to calculate the aircraft’s position, a spokesperson for Finnair told ERR.

Usually it is possible to land at most airports using the other systems, but at Tartu airport a GPS signal is required.

– That is the reason why the plan has not been able to land, says the spokesperson.

Points out the neighbor to the east

Like the pilot on the Finnair plane who was forced to turn around, the former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves singles out Russia as responsible.

In January, GPS interference was also detected in the area. Then the Estonian commander Martin Herem also believed that Russia was responsible, reports Bloomberg. The disruptions will then have affected air traffic, mobile phones and weapons systems. Herem could not confirm that Russia was responsible, but said it was most likely.

– Russia has demonstrated its capability of electronic warfare in several places, not only in Ukraine and in the Baltic countries, said Herem.

Newsweek reports that there is information that the disturbances in January came from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Disturbances must also have been registered in the southern parts of Sweden, Latvia and Poland.

Ongoing since 2022

The GPS jams have been going on since 2022 and Lotte-Triin Narusk, press manager at the Estonian Air Navigation Center says that the number of GPS jams has increased, affecting air traffic.

– At Tartu airport, planes can land mainly with the help of GPS-based solutions, says Narusk.

In good weather, there are also other techniques that can be used when landing. The airport in Tallinn is said to be a controlled airspace where the air navigation center has traffic management services.