Skyguide generated gross revenues of CHF 481.8 million in 2018, and incurred operating expense of CHF 449.7 million. Under current European regulations, part of the revenues earned must be reimbursed to users. And this, combined with a negative financial result, left the company with a net loss for the year of CHF 8.2 million.
The annual amount of air traffic managed and monitored by skyguide increased again in 2018. It also exceeded the forecasts of the European Performance Plan for the second reference period (2015 to 2019), and generated revenues for the year that were a CHF 11.5 million increase on 2017. Operating expense declined CHF 31.1 million. As a result, the operating result was improved by CHF 42.6 million to CHF 32.1 million.
The financial result, which derives from the income and costs of financing instruments and interest expense, was negative at CHF – 5.7 million. The application of the various provisions of the Risk Sharing System with the users of air navigation services also resulted in the reimbursement of part of the revenues earned (and also of uncontrollable costs) to customers, which reduced earnings by a further CHF 34.6 million to produce a net result for the year of CHF – 8.2 million.
Moderate growth expected for 2019
For 2019, skyguide expects to report moderate traffic growth of around 2%. The Swiss franc has weakened very slightly against the euro, but the strength of the Swiss currency remains a burden for skyguide’s airspace users, and continues to undermine the company’s ability to compete on the European air navigation services market.
Regional airports responsible for their financing
Financial responsibility for the air traffic services provided at Switzerland’s Category II airports has rested with these airports’ operators since 2017. Skyguide invoices such operators for the services it provides. Each airport creates its own charge regime and sets its own landing charges. Even if the costs for 2018 were fully covered thanks to additional funds from the Federal Office of Civil Aviation, the financial arrangement for the future remains a considerable challenge.
The remuneration of the members of the Executive Board for the 2018 business year was set by the full Board of Directors on the basis of a recommendation from its Compensation & Nominations Committee. The salary structure here is based on the Federal Council resolution of 23 December 2016, under which the variable salary component may not exceed 50% and any additional benefits may not exceed 10% of the fixed annual salary.
The unchanged remuneration of the Chairman and the further members of the Board of Directors is based on the Swiss federal resolution of 2007.
In accordance with the Federal Council resolution of 23 December 2016, the company’s shareholders set the maximum remuneration limits for the Executive Board, the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the further members of the Board of Directors for the 2019 business year at the Ordinary General Meeting of 2 May 2018.
The remuneration for the Chairman of the Board in 2018 amounted to CHF 135 000, while the remuneration for the further members of the Board of Directors averaged CHF 48 333 per member. The aggregate remuneration for 2018 for the (now) seven members of the Executive Board including the CEO totalled CHF 2 248 634, plus short-term and long-term results-based compensation and further compensation amounts totalling CHF 768 501.
Skyguide’s public service mandate
Swiss airspace is the most densely used in Europe. The various intercontinental airports around Switzerland all generate substantial air traffic. And these, together with the traffic to and from Switzerland’s own airports, ensure that some 70% of the air traffic managed by skyguide consists of climbing or descending flights. On top of this, upper Swiss airspace is a meeting point of key north-south and east-west airways over Europe that create two of the continent’s busiest air traffic crossroads. Extensive parts of Swiss airspace are also reserved for the use of the Swiss Air Force at certain times.
Skyguide has a public service mandate from the Swiss Confederation to constantly ensure the safe, fluid and cost-effective management of air traffic in the airspace it controls. Skyguide is set strategic objectives by the Swiss Federal Council every four years, currently for the 2016-2019 period. The company pursues these objectives, and takes further operational, performance-based and market economy-oriented decisions of its own, with a view to maintaining an optimum balance at all times between safety, capacity, sustainability and cost.