Annual report 2017

“Disruptive developments such as increasing automation or new airspace users are shaping our environment. The creation of the “Virtual Centre”, the centrepiece of our innovation strategy, continues to progress as planned and we expect it to be a mould-breaking innovation in our activities that is of pioneering importance to the entire air navigation services industry”.

Walter T. Vogel, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Alex Bristol, CEO skyguide

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High level of safety

The safety of skyguide’s air navigation services was maintained in 2017 and is at a high level.


More traffic and higher revenues


The people in air navigation services

Skyguide offers specialist jobs in a technologically demanding field. In doing so, the company enables competencies to be developed within Switzerland that have sizeable future potential.


High punctuality


Military air traffic management increasingly important

Military air traffic management is one of skyguide core tasks. The Swiss Air Force has been the company’s most important partner for more than 15 years now. Thanks to the full integration of civil and military air navigation services which was effected in 2001, skyguide can meet the Swiss Air Force’s need for unrestricted access to Swiss airspace and optimally coordinate this with civil aviation’s operating requirements.


Enhanced customer relations

Skyguide continues to develop and refine its customer- focused approach. With a view to understanding the needs of its customers even better and finding adequate responses to the same, the company conducted a detailed analysis of its profile partners.


In the heart of Europe

Some 40% of the airspace that skyguide manages and monitors is above neighbouring countries. And Switzerland has a clear interest in collaborating with its neighbours, since all its international airports are located close to its national borders.


Reduce the environmental impact of air traffic

With these partners, skyguide is devising tools and procedures that improve performance while minimising its environmental impact.


Integrating drones into the airspace

Aircraft are one of the safest means of transport. This should remain the case, even with the massive increase in the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones”. Skyguide has begun work, together with a number of partners, on developing a system to integrate these drones safely and efficiently into the airspace they use.


Reduction of our own environmental footprint


Safety as a way of life: our safety culture

Skyguide cannot afford to cover up errors: there is too much at stake. Rather, every problem it identifies serves as a basis for improvements.


Organising safety: the safety management system


Improving safety: continuous learning

Serious incidents and air accidents are investigated by the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board (STSB).


People: at the heart of air navigation services


Diversity is inspiration

Skyguide relies upon its employees to bring their varying perspectives and experience to their work. This diversity enables skyguide to deliver better services, to better understand its customers’ needs and to drive innovation; it also opens up new business opportunities.


Highlights 2017

  • January
  • March
  • April
  • July
  • September
  • October
  • November

New services agreements with regional airports

Switzerland’s regional airports conclude individual agreements with skyguide over the scope and the financing of the air navigation services they require. These accords lay the foundation for the reduction planned in the associated air navigation services costs. The existing high safety levels are still guaranteed. In the medium term, three such airports are considering switching from ATC (under skyguide’s control) to AFIS (in which the provision of traffic information and approaches would be the pilot’s responsibility).

Skyguide earns Single European Sky Award

Skyguide is presented with a Single European Sky Award by the European Commission in Madrid for its service-oriented architecture (SOA) concept. SOA helps reduce the number and the complexity of the air traffic management systems used at skyguide, which can both substantially cut costs and generate new business models.

SFAO report confirms skyguide strategy

The Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO) publishes its audit report on the implementation of the integration of Swiss civil and military air navigation services since 2001. In terms of skyguide’s air navigation services and its collaboration with the Swiss Air Force, the SFAO concludes that the combined civil/military air navigation services – which are unique in Europe – have been steadily further enhanced and have proved their worth in day-to-day flight operations.

Alex Bristol takes over as CEO

Alex Bristol becomes skyguide CEO, succeeding Daniel Weder upon his planned retirement. Bristol, who is 48 and a Swiss/British dual national, joined skyguide six year previously as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). Daniel Weder successfully led skyguide as its CEO for ten years. Alex Bristol is succeeded by Urs Lauener as Chief Operating Officer and a Member of the Executive Board.

Enhanced coordination among the Reims, Munich, Frankfurt-Langen and Zurich control centres

Skyguide successfully concludes the first phase of Functional Airspace Block Europe Central – Extended Arrival Management (FABEC XMAN) with its counterparts DFS of Germany and the DSNA of France, substantially improving coordination among the Reims, Munich, Frankfurt-Langen and Zurich control centres. XMAN absorbs delays earlier than the existing approach management system; and this can help reduce holding patterns and the resulting extra fuel consumption and carbon emissions.


Skyguide presents a drone integration strategy

Skyguide demonstrates, together with its project partners, how drones can be safely and efficiently integrated into airspace and its other users. The so-called “U-Space” will provide the digital infrastructures, services and procedures required to give drones access to airspace while still ensuring the safety of other airspace users. The live demonstration in Geneva confirms that skyguide is ready for the next step in the effective integration of drone flying activities.

Skyguide marks its present at Lucerne’s Swiss Museum of Transport

Skyguide opens a “theme island” in the Aviation Hall at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne. The exhibit enables visitors to experience the world of air navigation services in all its detail and variety. Not only does it offer extensive information on airports, airspace, airways and more: it also gives interested visitors a realistic impression of the work of an air traffic controller.

Additional direct routes in Swiss airspace

Skyguide establishes 13 more direct routes (DCTs) under the FABEC Free Route Airspace programme. All night flights are handled on DCTs with immediate effect. This makes the FABEC network more attractive for airlines under Swiss responsibility, because it shortens flying times and thus helps save them fuel. In creating the new DCTs, skyguide also meets European requirements and helps enhance FABEC’s broader environmental credentials. Some 50 DCTs were established back in March.

Enhanced collaboration with France

Skyguide teams up with its French counterpart, the Direction des Services de la Navigation Aérienne (DSNA), to establish a new interface between the Marseille and Geneva control centres. A new division of responsibilities and better coordination improve the management of aircraft flying from or to Geneva and Lyon airports and enhance traffic flows. The work also sees a modification of the borders between the Geneva terminal manoeuvring area and the adjacent area of French airspace under skyguide control, a reorganisation of the collaboration between the Marseille and Geneva control centres and the creation of an innovative dynamic responsibility zone.

Annual report 2017


Read the full version of the Annual Report 2017 to find out all about the past financial
year as well as the developments in the areas of safety, air traffic punctuality, customer
orientation and European cooperation.

Environmental report 2017


Environmental protection is an integral part of our mission. This report describes the
multi-layered efforts of skyguide, both in Air Traffic Management and in other action
areas like buildings and renewable energies, mobility and green IT.



Welcome to the new BluePrint 2018, skyguide’s technology outlook with focus on
our strategic Virtual Centre Initiative. We are now in the phase aiming at building the
foundation for the Virtual Centre. Read the full report to find out all about the latest
steps taken in this project.

Safety – The essentials


Aeroplanes are one of the safest means of transport that exist, and air navigation services play a key role in ensuring his is so. That is why skyguide personnel always have safety at the forefront of their minds.

Working at skyguide – The essentials


A successful career at skyguide depends largely on personal responsibility. This is reflected in an open management style and communication. The air navigation services of tomorrow will be characterised by its high-performing, competent, committed, responsible and well-informed employees.