Mysterious GPS Disruption in Israeli Airspace Ends, Air Traffic Returns to Normal

At this point, it's not clear whether Israel defense officials put an end to the problem, which required a change in the landing paths used by arriving aircraft

Ben-Gurion International Airport
Ofer Vaknin

The mysterious disruptions of GPS satellite navigation in Israeli airspace have ended and operations at Ben-Gurion International Airport have returned to normal, the Israel Airports Authority announced.

It's not clear at this stage whether Israeli defense officials are responsible for resolving the problem, which the Israel Airports Authority initially acknowledged at the end of June.

Ben-Gurion International Airport had been forced to make changes in flight paths for pilots landing at the airport due to the disruptions. Regular takeoff and landing configurations have been restored.

According to one source, the disruptions were only occurring during the day and did not pose a threat to aviation safety. The problem affected not only Israeli airspace but also the skies over Cyprus and other areas of the Mediterranean basin.

In late June, the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations issued an announcement that "many" pilots had lost satellite signal from the Global Positioning System around Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv.

Israeli security officials expressed the belief that Russia was responsible for the disruption as part of its effort to protect its aircraft at the Khemeinim air base in northwest Syria.

For his part, however, the Russian ambassador to Israel, Ambassador Anatoly Viktorov, told Israeli Army Radio, that the allegation was "fake news" that "can't be taken seriously."

Pilots use GPS technology for navigation within the Israeli airspace, and for takeoff and landing, but Haaretz has been told that pilots have alternative instrument landing and navigation systems that are not reliant on the GPS.

Yaniv Kubovich contributed to this report.