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Historic slump in traffic due to the global corona crisis

Skyguide, Switzerland's air navigation service provider, managed and monitored 270 610 flights under instrument flight rules (IFR) in the first half of 2020. This represents a year-on-year decline of 57.1%, most of which occurred in March, April and May.

Air traffic in the airspace above Switzerland and in the delegated areas managed by skyguide came to a virtual standstill at times after the coronavirus crisis that reached Europe in March 2020 severely restricted air traffic. 98.3% of all flights handled by skyguide were punctual. Skyguide also achieved this high level of punctuality in the period before Corona. The pandemic had no impact on the Swiss Air Force’s training flights and mission nor skyguide’s military air navigation services.


In January and February, the number of flights handled by skyguide increased by some 1 to 2% on the previous month, before collapsing from mid-March onwards with a 47.2% decline in traffic. The decline reached -93% in April and -91% in May, followed by a slight improvement in June ( -83.6%) following the lifting of some local travel restrictions and closures.

 

First half-year aircraft movements by market segment (in airspace managed by skyguide)

 

In the first half of 2020, the number of scheduled flights handled fell by 60.3% compared to the same period of the previous year. The number of controlled movements (take-offs and landings) throughout Switzerland also fell (-52.3%).

 

Zürich Airport recorded a 56.6% drop in IFR movements and Geneva Airport a 50.9% decline. The traffic handled at Switzerland’s regional airports showed a smaller decline (-32.4%) due to the fact that a large part of the traffic at these airports was unscheduled.

 

Skyguide’s area control centres in Geneva and Dübendorf registered a decline in aircraft movements of 57.3% and 56.9% respectively. The busiest day for skyguide in the first half of 2020 was Friday 21 February, when

3 394 flights were handled.

 

Movements in the first half of 2020 by area control centre and airport:

 

High punctuality even in the first months before the Corona crisis

The high punctuality of air traffic control in January and February as well as the lack of delays in the following months due to the slump in traffic led to 98.3% of all flights being handled without delay.

 

Swiss Air Force flights continued unchanged during Corona crisis

The pandemic had no impact on Swiss Air Force flights or skyguide’s military air navigation services. The Air Force conducted regular training flights and operations during the Corona crisis.