Finnair has suspended all flights to Tartu Airport in Estonia after noting an increase in GPS interference that has affected the ability for its planes to land at the airport. 

The Finnish flag carrier said that it would be halting its daily flights to the city, the only international routes to the airport, over May as it developed an alternative approach solution that didn’t require GPS after two of its flights were forced to divert back to Helsinki after interference incidents last week. 

Jari Paajanen, Finnair’s director of operations, said: “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.” 

While most airports will have alternative approach methods in the event of GPS issues and pilots are trained to adapt when an aircraft’s systems detect interference, Tartu currently only offers one method of approach. 

Finnair’s decision to suspend flights come as the airline says it as seen an increase in interference reported around Eastern Europe since 2022, with pilots reportedly recording incidents near Kaliningrad, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, and the Eastern Mediterranean. 

While the airline did not cite any suspicions about the source of interference events affecting its flights, the rise in issues in the region has previously been attributed to possible Russian involvement. 

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In March 2024 a plane carrying the UK’s Defence Secretary Grant Shapps experienced GPS jamming while flying close to Kaliningrad during a flight between Poland and the UK, with some sources attributing it to Russia. 

While a statement from Downing Street at the time did not directly comment on the source of the interference, it said: “It is not unusual for aircraft to experience GPS jamming near Kaliningrad, which is of course Russian territory.”

Finnair’s cancellation of flights to Tartu, while just a minor dent to its schedule, comes only a few months after the company cancelled more than 500 flights in February during a period of political industrial action by Finnish trade unions.