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European air safety group warns someone is disrupting GPS systems near Russia and Ukraine

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American soldiers sent to the Polish-Ukrainian border in connection with the crisis in Ukraine stand near radar near arlamow on February 24, 2022.
Photo by Maciej Luczniewski/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said GPS systems near Russia and Ukraine are being impacted by an unidentified source.
  • Disruptions have occurred in places around the Black Sea, eastern Finland, and the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The warning comes as sanctions block parts, maintenance, and support to Russian airlines.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A European aviation safety regulator on Thursday issued a warning that an unidentified source is disrupting GPS systems near Russia and Ukraine.

"In the current context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the issue of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) jamming and/or possible spoofing has intensified in geographical areas surrounding the conflict zone and other areas," the European Union Aviation Safety Agency said in a bulletin

The EASA said the regions where navigation systems have been impacted are around the Black Sea and in neighbouring states, eastern Finland, and the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea — all of which are close to or near Russia's borders. 

It's not possible to predict the extent of any disruptions on aircraft, the EASA said, but it could lead to a loss of waypoint navigation or prevent runway approach.

The warning comes on the heels of Russia seizing hundreds of Western-built aircraft in response to sanctions that require aircraft leasing companies to cancel their contracts with Russian airlines.

The lessors have until March 28 to get their planes out of Russia, but Steve Giordano, managing director of Nomadic Aviation Group, which specialises in aircraft repossessions, told Bloomberg the jets may be "gone forever."

Russian carriers and officials have made repossessing the aircraft difficult, including airspace closures and a ban on most international flights out of the country.

Because the lessor jets are being kept of out arms reach, the planes could be at risk of being "cannibalised" by Russian airlines due to Boeing and Airbus stopping the shipment of spare parts to the nation. Without the supplies, aircraft may not get the necessary repairs to safely fly.

Moreover, The Wall Street Journal noted the passengers and airline staff could be at risk because the plane-makers cannot provide support in the form of maintenance, spare parts, or updates for the complex machines.

About $10 billion worth of jets is estimated to be stranded in Russia, according to aviation consultancy Ishka. 

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