Matti Vanhanen (Centre), the chairperson of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, has called for a thorough inquiry into the cause of a warning issued for air traffic earlier this week by Air Navigation Services Finland (ANS Finland), the state-owned company responsible for managing the use of Finnish airspace.
YLE on Friday reported that the state-owned company issued a so-called notice to airmen (NOTAM) due to widespread GPS signals disturbances in Finnish Lapland.
The warning was issued on Tuesday and lifted late on Wednesday.
“We’ve received information from different sources that GPS signals were possibly unreliable in northern and north-eastern Finland,” Heikki Isomaa, the chief operating officer at ANS Finland, confirmed to the public broadcasting company. “We’ve also received information from the Finnish Defence Forces. The information was released as soon as we were notified.”
The Finnish Defence Forces has declined to comment on the issue, wrote YLE.
A similar warning has been in effect in Norwegian Lapland since 23 October, the first day of the two-week Nato-led military exercise Trident Juncture 2018. Norwegian authorities detected similar disturbances roughly a year ago and believe they were caused by jamming efforts from Russia, according to YLE.
Vanhanen on Friday reminded that aviation safety is a high-profile issue for Finland.
“We have to look into the causes of this problem and react in a way that the problem will neither persist nor recur. We’re talking about an issue that’s comparable to airspace violations and that must be made publicly known without delay,” he commented on social media.
Vanhanen told Uusi Suomi that his knowledge of the disturbances is limited to media reports. Finland, he underscored, must have a zero tolerance for jamming efforts as they can compromise aviation safety.
“You mustn’t cause danger to civilian traffic,” he said.
He also expressed his doubt that the disturbances were accidental, stressing that the party responsible for the jamming has to be identified and informed that such activity will not be tolerated.
“In exactly the same way as in the case of airspace violations, even though verifying may be easier when it comes to them,” said Vanhanen.
Both Finnish and Norwegian authorities have assured that the GPS jamming will cause no hazard for air traffic as aircraft are equipped also with other navigation equipment than GPS. Isomaa also told the public broadcaster that the warning has had no impact on the number of flights operated in Finnish Lapland.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi