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EASA Addresses Safety Concerns Arising from GPS Navigation Signal Outages

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has recently issued a revised Safety Information Bulletin 2022-02R1 in response to the growing issue of GPS navigation signal outages. According to the bulletin, the problem has intensified in recent months, leading to concerns over the safety of flights in certain geographical areas.

The issue appears to be linked to jamming and spoofing of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). While it particularly affects conflict zones, it is also present in the eastern Mediterranean, Baltic Sea, and Arctic areas. These interferences can cause significant problems for aircraft crews in various phases of flight, with some even leading to rerouting or diversions due to the inability to perform a safe landing.

Understandably, these developments have caused concern in the aviation industry, and EASA has issued a number of recommendations to address the issue. These include making recommendations to national aviation authorities and ATC services, as well as advising operators on the steps they can take to minimize the risks posed by GNSS jamming and spoofing.

One of the key recommendations is that flight crews should promptly report any interruption, degradation, or anomalous performance of GNSS equipment or related avionics to ATC. This will enable air traffic controllers to take appropriate action to minimize the risks to the aircraft and its passengers.

Another recommendation is that operators should ensure that limitations introduced by the dispatch of aircraft with inoperative radio navigation systems are considered before operating in affected areas. This is in accordance with the MEL, or Minimum Equipment List, which specifies the minimum equipment that must be operational for an aircraft to be dispatched.

Finally, operators should also check that alternative navigation aids critical for the intended route and approach are available. This will ensure that they have a backup plan in case GNSS interferences prevent them from using their primary navigation systems.

In conclusion, the growing issue of GNSS jamming and spoofing poses a significant safety risk to the aviation industry. However, by following EASA’s recommendations and taking appropriate measures to minimize the risks, operators can help to ensure the safety of their aircraft and its passengers. As always, safety must remain the top priority for all those involved in aviation, and it is essential that the industry continues to work together to address this and other safety concerns.

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