Russia Denies It’s Behind Airport GPS Disruptions

An El AL Boeing 777 aircraft is seen at Ben Gurion International Airport. (Reuters/Nir Elias/File Photo)

Russian officials on Thursday denied any connection to disruption of the GPS system that has been ongoing at Ben Gurion Airport for the past three weeks. “This is fake news, we cannot comment on this in a serious manner,” an official at the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv said in a statement.

Earlier, Army Radio had reported that Russia was responsible for the disruptions, which were first reported yesterday. The disruptions have caused problems for planes taking off and landing at the airport, and several incidents were avoided only at the last minute. Israeli security officials quoted in the report attributed the disruptions to electronic activity emanating from a Russian base in southern Syria, possibly as a response to Israeli bombing of military targets in Syria. The report said that a senior Israeli official was in Europe meeting with American officials on ways to deal with the issue.

In a statement, the Israel Airports Authority said that the GPS disruptions notwithstanding, passengers were perfectly safe flying into and out of Ben Gurion Airport. “Entries and exits of planes are conducted in the safest and most professional manner. Control tower workers guide each and every plane into and out of Israeli airspace. At no time was there any danger to any plane or passenger. Israel is working to solve the problem.”

The IDF said that the issue was a civilian one, “although the IDF is assisting, using technological systems in order to ensure that planes can freely fly in Israeli skies. At this time, the issue has not had any impact on IDF operations. The IDF is actively ensuring its freedom to operate and its technological superiority in the region.”

The International Pilots Union on Wednesday warned its members that they were likely to lose GPS connection in the area of Ben Gurion Airport, or that some of the figures and data showing up on their control screens may not be accurate.