Weekly Review #242 - GPS spoofing is a real thing

Picture of Vincent Lambercy
Posted by Vincent Lambercy

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the IFATSEA General Assembly in Cyprus, where I moderated a panel discussion on training. Besides the conference activities, I took the opportunity to jog along the picturesque beach of the island. I typically use a tracking app, which includes a voice coach feature that updates me on my running pace—usually quite leisurely. However, this time, my pace was abnormally slow, even slower than walking.


Surprisingly, according to the GPS-based app, I spent my entire running session in Beirut, specifically near the runway threshold at the airport. I later discussed this anomaly with other participants, confirming that the issue was not with my phone alone. Over the following days, I noticed sporadic jumps in my GPS location to Beirut.




The implications of such extensive GPS spoofing operations extend far beyond inconvenience for joggers. The impacts on aviation are significant, affecting both en-route navigation and approaches. For instance, Finnair recently had to cancel flights between Helsinki and Tartu due to intentional GPS interference. Notably, while the airport employs an ILS approach, both the segments leading to the final approach and the go-around rely solely on GPS.


Aireon has recently released a whitepaper summarising their observations on GPS spoofing and other interferences in the Baltic region. The paper highlights the growing importance and vulnerability of GPS-only systems, particularly in these tumultuous times. You can read the full report here: Aireon's Whitepaper on GPS Interference and Spoofing in the Baltics.


In more uplifting news, be sure to read our report on CHarlie, an AI-based Air Traffic Control Operator (ATCO) assistant. This innovative tool offers a glimpse into the future, where AI and ATCOs could work collaboratively rather than in opposition. Discover more about Charlie here: Meet CHarlie: The AI-Based ATC Assistant.

ANSP news

  • Situational picture of disturbances in satellite navigation in Finland in 2024 - The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has received an increasing number of reports of GPS interference in aircraft outside of Finland and over Finnish soil during the current year. The interference does not affect the safe performance of flights, because especially modern commercial aircraft have several alternative navigation systems.
  • FAB CE U-Space Coordination Group moving forward- In April, two workshops on Unmanned Aircraft Systems and a meeting of the FAB CE U-Space Coordination Group were both held in Split, Croatia. The main topics discussed, were the requirements that will have the strongest impact on the provision of ATS services by the FAB CE ANSPs when implementing future U-Space areas.
  • Change in the Board of Directors of Skyguide- Skyguide's Annual General Meeting has elected Aldo C. Schellenberg as the new Chairman of the air navigation service provider's Board of Directors. He succeeds Walter T. Vogel, who served as Chairman of the Skyguide Board of Directors for nine years. Vice-Chairwoman Anne Bobillier is stepping down after ten years. The Annual General Meeting today elected Linda de Winter and Annette Rinck as new members of the Board of Directors.
  • BULATSA participation in eGAFOR - Eumetnet- With the coordination of EUMETNET, BULATSA has joint as the 8th Aeronautical Meteorology ANSPs participating in the eGAFOR Module alongside ARSO (Slovenia), BHANSA, CCL (Croatia), HungaroMet (Hungary), ROMATSA (Romania), SHMI (Slovakia), SMATSA. The Participants regularly produce a uniform, harmonized, probabilistic, graphical, colour-coded, low-level Forecast for VFR Flights up to FL 100, with an assessment of the impact of weather on flight routes.
  • FAB CE - Predictability and Flexibility center stage for InterFAB workshop- The world is becoming more and more volatile leading to less accuracy of traffic forecasts and an increased need to plan carefully. InterFAB leaders joined forces to discuss challenges and alternatives for the way ahead.

Airport news

Market news

  • ERA´s subsidiary R-SYS enables ANSPs to handle flight plans more efficient by using CFSP API- LVNL has made it possible for commercial flight plan providers to submit VFR flight plans more easily and safely by using R-SYS developed CFSP API. This allows LVNL to process flight plans more quickly and some of this work by the LVNL Flight Service Centre (responsible for FPL handling at LVNL) is further automated. LVNL is the first air traffic control organization in Europe to do this, in collaboration with supplier R-SYS.

Research and innovation

  • White Paper: GPS Interference, Spoofing in the Baltics - Aireon- ANSP and aircraft operators rely on the integrity of the GPS signal to navigate the aircraft to its destination. Increasingly, however, the integrity of the GPS signal has become a target for interference — via nefarious actions like spoofing or jamming, or non-intentional actions like malfunctioning avionics. This trend has prompted many in the aviation industry to seek creative, technological redundancies to the GPS signal to ensure the aircraft is able to continue operating safely in the event of an interference.

Reports and data