GPS interference prevented Finnair’s airplane from landing in Joensuu

The aircraft could not land at Joensuu airport due to GPS-interference and had to return to Helsinki. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)

Joensuu is the regional capital of North Karelia, and the city’s eastern region borders to Russia.

Kajsa Tikkanen, Finnair’s chief of communications, explained that Joensuu airport is one of few airports in Finland that only uses satellite based GPS navigation in guiding aircraft during the approach. Hence, if GPS interference appears the aircraft is not allowed to initiate or continue the approach.

Persistent interference 

While the GPS signal is essential for a plane’s approach prior to landing, it does not usually affect navigation during the flight.

Most airports also use ground based landing systems in assisting airplane approaches. They are not as sensitive to interference.

Tikkanen noted that GPS interference usually lasts only a few minutes, but this time it persisted, resulting in the captain’s decision to return to Helsinki.

Recently, GPS interference has occurred, impacting flight traffic. Tikkanen added that pilots are aware of this issue and know how to respond in such situations.

Related stories from around the North:

Finland: Military exercise apparently disrupts weather images from Lapland, Yle News

Norway: Intensified GPS jamming is side effect of Russia’s self-protection of Kola bases, The Independent Barents Observer

The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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