GPS jamming is causing problems for thousands of flights in and around Britain. More than 46,000 aircraft have reported GPS issues over the Baltic Sea since last August. The main troubles are happening near Eastern Europe, close to Russia.

GPS Jamming Affects Thousands of Flights Over Britain

(Photo : Elizabeth Jamieson on Unsplash)

GPS Jamming Disrupts Flights Across Britain

Over the past year, aircraft flying in Britain and over the Baltic Sea have faced significant GPS jamming. This issue has affected major airlines like Ryanair, Wizz Air, British Airways, and easyJet. Reports from these airlines have raised concerns about flight safety and navigation.

The Guardian reported that Ryanair has experienced over 2,300 incidents of GPS jamming, affecting their flights' navigation systems. Wizz Air has also reported nearly 1,400 cases. Even British Airways and easyJet have faced similar issues, though in smaller numbers. 

These problems are most common in eastern Europe, near the Baltic region, and in areas close to Russia.

GPS is crucial for flight navigation, helping pilots know exactly where they are. However, when GPS jamming occurs, it can disrupt this system. Although this doesn't directly threaten flight safety, it can complicate navigation. 

The UK government highlighted the risks when an RAF plane carrying the Defence Secretary experienced GPS jamming near Kaliningrad, Russia.

The International Air Transport Association and the EU Aviation Safety Agency met in January to talk about this problem. They discussed how GPS jamming and "spoofing" (sending false signals) are becoming more frequent and agreed to address these threats.

In response, airlines are reinforcing their safety measures. For example, Ryanair points out that their planes have multiple systems to locate their position. If GPS fails, pilots switch to an alternative system. 

This ensures that navigation remains reliable and safe, mitigating the risk posed by GPS jamming.

The situation continues to be monitored by aviation authorities, emphasizing that while it is a concern, comprehensive safety protocols are in place to handle these disruptions.

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GPS Interference Peaks During Holiday Season in Europe

Recent reports indicate that GPS jamming and spoofing incidents have increased over Europe, affecting flights in the Baltic region. 

This disruption was most noticeable around the Christmas holidays and continued into the New Year, according to the University of Texas Radionavigation Laboratory findings.

Forbes revealed that in late December, significant GPS jamming affected aircraft navigation across northern Poland and southern Sweden. On New Year's Eve, pilots in southeastern Finland also reported navigation troubles. By mid-January, similar incidents had spread to Estonia and Latvia. 

The disruptions involved jamming, which blocks the signal, and spoofing, which misleads systems about their location.

Experts have traced the source of the GPS jamming to Russian transmitters. This kind of interference has previously been observed with maritime navigation but is now increasingly affecting aviation. 

The incidents raise concerns about safety and navigation integrity as flights have to disable their GPS systems to rely on alternative navigation methods to avoid misleading data.

This spike in GPS disruptions comes when geopolitical tensions are high, with Russia's actions posing risks to international air safety standards.

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