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What’s New: A report from the meeting between International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (ESA) about mitigating the risk of wide-spread jamming and spoofing. 

Why It’s Important: Several noteworthy and common-sense outcomes. (Keeping in mind Voltaire’s reminder that “Common sense is not that common.”)

  • “Mitigating these risks requires short-, medium- and long-term measures…”
    • Short term includes better reporting and info sharing, guidance from manufacturers, and maintaining a minimum of traditional terrestrial navigation aids.
    • Medium and long term measures were not described in the press release and we could not find a more detailed meeting output. The announcement for the meeting said it would non-attribution to maximize candid discussion and input. We expect the medium and long term items are still being finalized.
  • “Such attacks belong to the domain of Cybersecurity…” – Yep, good to have someone say this out loud. In some governments over-tasked officials bat the problem back and forth saying it is “electronic warfare” or it’s own thing and “not their problem.”
    • PNT (from GNSS and elsewhere) powers IT communications links, operating systems, populates data fields with time and location, and enables end-user devices. It has been a cyber issue since before folks were talking about cyber issues.

What Else to Know:

  • One long term solution may be development of a terrestrial wide area navigation system like eLoran.  The UK has said it will build an eLoran system and the EU recently issued an RFP for a miniaturized eLoran/GNSS receiver.  Such systems are already operating in China, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, and may be compatible with Russia’s Chayka (Loran-C) system. – Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all cooperate again on improving PNT instead of degrading it and for attacks on each other?
  • Building and selling integrated space/terrestrial navigation and timing receivers, along with the needed tech stack, will be an economic boon to the PNT industry. 




COLOGNE, January 26, 2024 – The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the conclusions of a workshop jointly hosted at EASA’s headquarters to combat incidents of GNSS spoofing and jamming.

The workshop’s high-level conclusion was that interference with satellite-based services that provide information on the precise position of an aircraft can pose significant challenges to aviation safety. Mitigating these risks requires short-, medium- and long-term measures, beginning with the sharing of incident information and remedies.

“GNSS systems offer tremendous advantages to aviation in increasing the safety of operations in a busy shared airspace,” said EASA Acting Executive Director Luc Tytgat. “But we have seen a sharp rise in attacks on these systems, which poses a safety risk. EASA is tackling the risk specific to these new technologies. We immediately need to ensure that pilots and crews can identify the risks and know how to react and land safely. In the medium term, we will need to adapt the certification requirements of the navigation and landing systems. For the longer term, we need to ensure we are involved in the design of future satellite navigation systems. Countering this risk is a priority for the Agency.”

“Airlines are seeing a significant rise in incidents of GNSS interference. To counter this, we need coordinated collection and sharing of GNSS safety data; universal procedural GNSS incident guidance from aircraft manufacturers; a commitment from States to retain traditional navigation systems as backup in cases where GNSS are spoofed or jammed. In actioning these items, the support and resources of EASA and other governmental authorities are essential. And airlines will be critical partners. And whatever actions are taken, they must be the focal point of the solution as they are the front line facing the risk,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Measures agreed by the workshop to make Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) services provided by GNSS more resilient, include:

  • Reporting and sharing of GNSS interference event data. In Europe, this would occur through the European Occurrence Reporting scheme and EASA’s Data4Safety programme. As this is a global problem, it is important, for a better and complete understanding, to join all the information available from reports by connecting the databases such as IATA’s Flight Data Exchange (FDX) or Eurocontrol EVAIR.  This topic will be included in the discussions among all interested stakeholders, which will be launched following this workshop.
  • Guidance from aircraft manufacturers. This will ensure that aircraft operators are well equipped to manage jamming and spoofing situations, in alignment with EASA’s Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) 2022-02R2.
  • Alerting: EASA will inform the relevant stakeholders (airlines, air navigation service providers (ANSPs), manufacturing industry and airports) about attacks.
  • Backup: Aviation must retain a Minimum Operational Network (MON) of traditional navigation aids to ensure there is a conventional backup for GNSS navigation.

Background on ‘spoofing’ and ‘jamming’

In very recent years, Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) jamming and spoofing incidents have increasingly threatened the integrity of Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services across Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Similar incidents have been reported in other locations globally. GNSS is a service based on satellite constellations such as the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and EU’s Galileo. ‘Jamming’ blocks a signal, whereas ‘spoofing’ sends false information to the receiver on board the aircraft.

These disruptions pose significant challenges to the broader spectrum of industries which rely on precise geolocation services, including aviation. Such attacks belong to the domain of Cybersecurity, safety threat for which EASA has developed a toolkit. The National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) in Europe had explicitly tasked EASA with taking measures to counter this risk.

About the workshop

Participants in the workshop shared information on actual events experienced, to deepen the collective understanding of the perceived threat. There was wide appreciation from the attendees for the event and a common understanding of the need to tackle this issue collectively in a timely fashion. Over 120 participants from airlines, manufacturers, system suppliers, ANSPs and institutions joined the in-person event, which was held in Cologne on January 25, 2024.