Minimising the environmental impact. Ensuring efficient and resource-saving air traffic management is a cornerstone of skyguide’s operating mandate.

The impact of air traffic on the environment is an international challenge which requires global solutions. However, our environmental policy and management system begin already at a local level. In that regard, every employee is aware of his/her own contribution. And we, as an organisation, work actively with local and international bodies to reduce our ecological footprint.







Striving for efficiency


In addition to determining optimal routing and cost-effectiveness, new route structures and flight procedures submitted to us are also reviewed for possible reductions in length and noise emission. Efficient flight handling leads to less fuel consumption and reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. Examples: Greener Wave and iStream.

European regulatory authorities have implemented stringent requirements on air transport to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Air navigation service providers are required to meet specific ecological objectives under the Single European Sky programme.


Collaborating with all aviation partners

We increase efficiency gains by working closely with our domestic and international partners to devise tools and procedures that further improve overall system performance while minimising its environmental impact. Concrete operational measures include:

  • Pilots at Swiss airports do not receive permission to start their engines until shortly before pushback, preventing unnecessary fuel consumption.
  • Together with Swiss International Air Lines and the Zurich airport authority, we are working on the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) to develop more fluid approach and taxiing procedures for the airport’s first morning long-haul arrivals.
  • Our contribution to the FABEC initiatives – such as the night network, city pairs and hot spots – are also aimed at shortening routes and enhancing the environmental credentials of the system as a whole.

For more information, see also www.enviro.aero, an initiative of commercial aviation and supported by CANSO and skyguide.




International approach


Skyguide already meets all the requirements of all regional, national and international environmental law. Through its active collaboration with bodies such as FABEC and CANSO and its participation in various technical projects, skyguide also ensures that its expertise in and appreciation of environmental concerns remain fully up-to-date. The environmental impact of aviation is an international issue and, as such, its solution demands a similarly global approach.


Supporting international efforts to raise efficiency

The air navigation service providers aim to play their part in protecting the environment by raising their own efficiency. FABEC initiatives like the “Night Network”, “City Pairs” and “Hot Spots”, in which skyguide has also been involved, shorten flight routes and improve the entire system’s overall ecological credentials. Skyguide has also been participating, together with Swiss International Air Lines and the Zurich airport authority, in the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE) programme, which is working under the aegis of the SESAR joint undertaking into ATM research to help improve the efficiency of Zurich-bound transatlantic flights.


A three-track environmental policy approach


In order to pay due and full regard to all the various aspects of environmental management, skyguide has adopted a three-track policy approach:

  • First, the company is pursuing a consistent strategy of enhancing the services it provides. The more punctual flight operations are and the more direct the routes flown, the better will be the eco-credentials of the customers concerned. In this respect, too, sustainability is an integral part of skyguide’s corporate strategy.
  • Secondly, skyguide is taking actions to reduce its own environmental impact. And it is developing its own Environmental Management System to do so.
  • Thirdly, skyguide pursues a procurement policy that makes their environmental credentials a criterion in its choice of suppliers.


Measurement system being developed

Skyguide aims to use its new Environmental Management System to obtain reliable data on its use of natural resources. Developing an appropriate facility for measuring key environmental indicators will take several years. But the first statements can already be made that can offer further guidance on the course currently adopted. Utlimately, skyguide aims to limit and reduce its consumption of the resources concerned.

© picture by Suisse Eole

Energy consumption


The technology to optimise energy use has made rapid strides in the last few years. When it opened in 1998, skyguide’s Geneva control centre was provided with (then-)state-of-the-art energy-efficient technology such as free cooling facilities. But in 2011 the company replaced the heating system at its Geneva premises with a new solution which uses the district heating grid of Geneva’s local industry. The Dübendorf control centre, which commenced operations in early 2009, is one of the newer generation of energy-optimised premises. In addition to purely construction features such as insulating materials, the centre boasts movement sensors to save on lighting and air-conditioning, more energy-efficient lights, a centralised “smart” building master control system, waste heat recovery and heating pumps, all to ensure that energy consumption can be reduced in all areas.




Influencing aircraft noise


The Swiss Confederation assumes its responsibility for ensuring that air traffic operations are as easy on the environment as possible by imposing takoff, landing and overflight restrictions in certain clearly-specified areas. When it assesses an airport’s operating regulations, the Confederation will also consider the impact of air traffic on the local environment and population. Skyguide is a specialist in devising airport approach and departure regulations. But it only performs these activities when commissioned to do so, and has no decision-making authority in the approval of arrival or departure routes.



Open fuel-dumping communications


When a flight is obliged to land earlier than expected after developing a technical problem, the aircraft concerned will often need to reduce its weight before doing so by jettisoning or “dumping” fuel. All fuel dumping operations are conducted at a prescribed minimum altitude. Skyguide communicates all cases of fuel dumping on behalf of the FOCA, which is responsible for ensuring the due observance of the corresponding regulations and for assessing the environmental impact of such activities.

Further information by Federal Office of Civil Aviation (French)

Fuel dumps 2004 – today Fuel Dumps 2004-today