Report: GPS Problem Over Israeli Skies Eliminated

An El Al flight takes off from Ben Gurion International Airport. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

A problem that has been interfering with GPS communications in Israeli skies has been eliminated, the Airports Authority has announced. A report in Haaretz said that a NOTAM – a warning notice issued to pilots about air hazards – has been canceled, and all takeoffs and landings can fully rely on GPS signals in Israeli airspace.

What the problem was and how it has been resolved is unclear, the report said. The problem has been apparent to foreign pilots for at least two months, although the Authority initially denied there was a problem. The disruptions caused problems for planes taking off and landing at the airport, and several incidents were avoided only at the last minute, Army Radio reported.

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 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.”

After it said it received dozens of complaints, the International Pilots Union in June issued a warning about the GPS interference. The Airports Authority said that the 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.”