Finland’s air traffic control directed civilian planes to evade Russian military aircraft

On Wednesday, Finnish air traffic control spotted Russian military planes flying with their transponders switched off. Civilian aircraft were directed away from the military planes.

Finland’s air traffic control instructed cvilian aeroplanes to evade a group of Russian military jets on Wednesday. The Russian planes were flying with their transponders turned off, meaning that other planes were not able to notice them on their instruments.

According to Finnish aviation company Finavia, Finland’s military air traffic control system’s surveillance radar spotted the group of Russian aeroplanes flying between Russia and its exclave Kaliningrad.

Director of aviation Pekka Henttu from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) says the planes were flying in single file formation but that no danger was posed to civilian air traffic. Risks were minimised thanks to swift communication between civilian and military air traffic control, he says.

”The civilian traffic was diverted to steer clear of the Russian planes,” Henttu says. “This is standard procedure when planes are ‘flying dark’ with their transponders off.”

Top Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat was the first to report the evasion measures.

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