Wednesday May 22, 2024

Finnair suspends flights to Tartu for 1 month

Published : 29 Apr 2024, 20:30

  DF Report
DF File Photo.

National flag carrier Finnair on Monday decided to suspend its daily flights to Tartu, Estonia from April 29 to May 31, said Finnair in a press release.

The airline took the decision so that an alternative approach solution that doesn’t require a GPS signal can be put in place at Tartu Airport.

Earlier, two flights of Finnair failed to land at Tartu airport in Estonia due to Global Positioning System (GPS) interference and had to return to Helsinki Airport on April 26 and April 27.

The approach methods currently used at Tartu Airport are based on a GPS signal. GPS interference, which is quite common in the area, affects the usability of this approach method and can therefore prevent the aircraft from approaching and landing.

Finnair suspends its flights to Tartu for one month, during which time the aim is to build approach methods at Tartu Airport that enable a safe and smooth operation of flights without a GPS signal.

Passengers who have booked flights between Helsinki and Tartu on April 29 – May 35 will receive a cancellation message from Finnair and will be given more information of their options by text message and/or email.

"We apologize for the inconvenience the suspension causes to our customers. Flight safety is always our top priority, and as the approach to Tartu currently requires a GPS signal, we cannot fly there in the event of GPS interference," said Jari Paajanen, Finnair's Director of Operations.

"The systems on Finnair's aircraft detect GPS interference, our pilots are well aware of the issue, and the aircraft have other navigation systems that can be used when the GPS system is unserviceable," Paajanen says. "Most airports use alternative approach methods, but some airports, such as Tartu, only use methods that require a GPS signal to support them. The GPS interference in Tartu forces us to suspend flights until alternative solutions have been established," said the Director.

GPS interference has increased since 2022, and Finnair pilots have reported interference especially near Kaliningrad, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Typically, GPS interference does not affect flight routes or flight safety, as pilots are well aware of it and aircraft have alternative systems in place that are used when the GPS signal is interfered with.