Annual report 2018

“Our mission at skyguide is to ensure the safety of air traffic for our customers. Safety is the foundation of all our activities, our prime mission and our core value. Once again, air traffic grew more strongly than had been forecast in 2018. Despite this, skyguide clearly met the safety and punctuality targets of the European Performance Plan.”


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

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Safety: the paramount priority

Safety has top priority in all of skyguide’s activities.


More traffic, higher revenues


An attractive employer

Many of the jobs at skyguide are in a technologically challenging field that offers sizeable development potential.


High punctuality overall


Technological drive coupled with reliability

The aviation world is undergoing radical change. Digitalisation and automation are transforming air navigation services, too.


Regional airports: solutions still sought

Under Article 30 of the Swiss Federal Ordinance on the Provision of Air Navigation Services (VFSD), responsibility for the costs of air navigation services at Switzerland’s regional airports was to have passed to the operators of these airports at the beginning of 2017.


Better relations with partners and stakeholders

In addition to the Swiss Air Force and Switzerland’s regional airports, skyguide’s customers and partners also include general aviation, airlines, neighbouring states and international airports.


Borderless airspace

Airspace and air traffic are not bound by national borders.


Maintaining the sovereignty of Switzerland’s airspace

The Swiss Air Force is skyguide’s most important partner of all. Military air traffic management is among the company’s prime duties here.


Reducing the environmental impact of air traffic

Skyguide is working actively with local and international bodies to reduce its ecological footprint.


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 2018

  • January
  • April
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • October
  • November
  • December

Drones used for landing systems maintenance

Skyguide begins using a specially equipped drone to calibrate its automatic landing systems at Zurich and Geneva airports. Such calibrations, which are required every six months, are otherwise performed by a specially equipped aircraft flown in from Germany entailing costs, greenhouse gas emissions and noise. The use of the drone should halve the number of calibration flights required by 2020, 
and thereby substantially reduce costs, environmental strain and the noise inconvenience caused by such night-time flights.

New members join the Executive Board

Klaus Affholderbach, formerly Head of the Virtual Centre, becomes Chief Safety Officer on 1 January. The company also has a new Chief Communications Officer: Myriam Käser, formerly Head of Communications at the NZZ Media Group.

Power failure simulated

Skyguide spends two nights testing the robustness and reliability of the emergency power supply facilities at its Dübendorf operations centre. The company’s safety-relevant systems must be assured of a constant electrical power supply at all times, even in the event of an outage of the external electricity network. This is ensured by the company’s uninterruptible power supply facilities. The system works faultlessly, as the tests confirm.

Swiss U-Space successfully demonstrated

Skyguide and AirMap, the globally active airspace management platform for drones, co-conduct a successful demonstration of the Swiss U-Space system as part of the World Economic Forum’s Drone Innovators Network event. U-Space is Europe’s vision of a digital infrastructure that can provide drones with safe airspace access. Skyguide is the first air navigation services provider to put the integrated U-Space system into operation.


Nicole Leyre assumes her new duties as Chief Financial Officer. She succeeds Marc R. Bohren, who retires with deep thanks for his many years of service. Nicole Leyre has previously held various positions at industrial companies, most recently as CFO and a member of the Executive Board of KBA-NotaSys, which manufactures banknote printing machines, where she was further responsible for IT, human resources and facility management.

Collaboration with RUAG intensified

The news is announced that 150 employees of RUAG Defence in Dübendorf will gradually move into skyguide’s Air Navigation Services Centre in Wangen (near Dübendorf) from April 2020 onwards. The move not only enables skyguide to make more efficient use of its Dübendorf premises: it will also intensify the company’s collaborations with its technology partner.

Multilateration decision taken

Skyguide takes a key decision for the future of airspace monitoring by giving the green light to the Wide Area Multi-lateration Switzerland programme. 
The six existing secondary radar facilities coming to the end of their service lives
in 2023 will thus be replaced with multilateration technology, which offers several advantages over conventional radar alternatives.

FABEC earns award

Functional Airspace Block Europe Central is presented with the David J. Hurley Memorial Award of the USA’s Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) on 2 October. The distinction is bestowed by ATCA for outstanding achievement in the development, operation or maintenance of the worldwide air traffic control system.

All four controllers’ unions approve new CLA

With the members of three of the four air traffic controller unions having approved their new collective labour agreement (CLA) by large majorities in July, the fourth union does so on 19 November. All of skyguide’s air traffic controllers are thus again subject to the same CLA, which will be valid until the end of 2020.

Virtual Centre programme validated

All the stakeholders in the Single European Sky (SES) are briefed in Brussels on the findings of the Airspace Architecture Study by the SES’s research arm (SESAR). The study views a combination of enhanced airspace architecture and new technologies as the most promising solution to the present capacity shortages and delays. The study further calls for the Europe-wide adoption of the “virtual centre” model, thereby validating the most important strategic objective of skyguide, which continues to vigorously pursue the creation of such a virtual entity for its operations.

Swiss mobile telephony network suitable for drone flights

Researchers commissioned by skyguide at the Aviation Research Centre Switzerland demonstrate, in collaboration with Swiss telecoms provider Swisscom, that the country’s existing mobile telephony infrastructure could be used to ensure safe drone flight operations within Swiss airspace, after test flights show adequate stability in the data exchange between drones and the providers of U-Space solutions.

Zurich High Court convicts air traffic controller

The Zurich High Court convicts a skyguide air traffic controller of negligent disruption of public traffic on the basis of an incident which occurred at Zurich Airport in 2011. Skyguide is of the view that the court judgment challenges the Just Culture principle employed in aviation, under which errors that are made despite the perpetrator acting in good conscience and to the best of their knowledge and abilities should not be punishable by law.

Annual report 2018


Read the full version of the Annual Report 2018 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.

Innovation report


Skyguide is transforming its business to meet customers’ needs in a changing market of Air Navigation Services (ANS) which is on the cusp of a paradigm shift. We pride ourselves for our innovation capacity and business mindset, while always giving due priority to safety, and this is the foundation on which we are building our future.

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 this 2019 Blueprint edition. We have made more progress in our transformation and we continue to position skyguide as an innovator in air traffic management (ATM).
In this new edition, we will report from our flagship, the Virtual Centre, again but also extend the update to a few other strategic programmes which will lead us towards our vision of future ATM.

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.