Switzerland’s civil and military air traffic management were amalgamated in 2001. In taking this step, the Swiss Federal Council laid the foundations for ensuring the best possible use of the country’s limited airspace. Since then, skyguide has been able to meet the Swiss Air Force’s need of unrestricted access to Swiss airspace while optimally combining this with the operating requirements of civil aviation. In doing so, the company makes a major contribution to maintaining the sovereignty of Swiss airspace.
Skyguide and the Swiss Air Force have also steadily further refined the relevant mission planning processes. The detailed weekly planning that was introduced in 2015/2016 has proved its worth, and was supplemented in 2018 by a monthly planning component. 2018 also saw the adoption of a new means of measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) that permits a more detailed assessment of the quality of the services provided.
Goals fully achieved
The services that skyguide provides for the Swiss Air Force are specified in a formal agreement which was revised in 2016 and extended for a further four years. Skyguide achieved all the goals specified in this agreement for the 2018 period. Aerial policing and military training activities are set to increase, however: under its LP24 project, the Swiss Air Force intends to establish a round-the-clock aerial policing capability by the end of 2020. The second LP24 project phase, which provides a daily aerial policing capability from 08:00 to 18:00, has been under way since 2017. This capability will be extended to 06:00 to 22:00 in 2019.
Skyguide handled 88 205 military aircraft movements in 2018, a 5.4% decline on the 93 264 movements of the previous year. Skyguide also conducted 261 live/hot missions and 2 110 tactical missions in the course of the year (compared to 328 and 2 220 respectively in the previous year).
Providing adequate numbers of air traffic controllers is a constant skyguide challenge, and the longer operating hours required under Project LP24 will further raise such personnel needs. Skyguide is making major efforts to recruit and train the personnel required at its Air Defence & Direction Centre and at Switzerland’s air force bases. The competencies of its existing employees must also be constantly further developed and refined.
A technical partner, too
Skyguide is also a key partner of the Swiss Air Force on the technical front. For the completion of the MALS Plus programme to replace older radar systems, the company is working closely with the Swiss Federal Office for Defence Procurement (armasuisse). Skyguide supported armasuisse in 2018 in the adoption of precision approach radar (PAR), which is now installed and operational at Payerne, Emmen, Meiringen and Locarno air force bases. The new airport surveillance radar should be put into service in Payerne in 2019. Skyguide is also working on behalf of the Swiss Air Force on replacing the present air force base radio systems and secondary radar facilities with multilateration technology.