Review 2019: High punctuality of air traffic control despite record summer. Slower traffic growth.

Geneva, 29 January 2019 - Air traffic in Switzerland increased only moderately last year, well below forecasts. Total movements in the airspace above Switzerland and in the delegated areas managed and monitored by skyguide increased by 0.5%. Switzerland's national airports of Geneva and Zurich recorded 0.8% fewer landings and takeoffs than in the previous year. The delays caused by air traffic control remained low in 2019. Skyguide also fully met the Swiss Air Force's performance targets for 2019, thus further strengthening its successful civil-military integration.

Air traffic in Europe initially showed solid growth in 2019, before slowing in mid-summer and declining in the final quarter of the year. With an average of 3 575 flights per day, skyguide surpassed the previous record average of 2018 (3 558 flights). The peak day was June 28 with 4 522 flights. Skyguide handled just over 1.3 million IFR flights in 2019, which is a new record.


Proven civil-military partnership

The partnership with the Swiss Air Force in 2019 proved to be very pleasing. Skyguide achieved 99.5 % of the service level defined in its service agreement with the Swiss Air Force (average of all air force bases). The Air Defence and Direction Center (ADDC) at Dübendorf also achieved a service performance of 96.3%. Skyguide thus met the agreed Swiss Air Force’s performance objectives.


Skyguide’s military air traffic controllers accompanied 289 “live and hot missions” (air police missions and serious interventions) and 2 020 tactical operations last year. In 2019, skyguide accompanied a total of 94 519 military aircraft movements.


Skyguide also provided the full range of air navigation services expected at the civil regional airports.


Weak traffic growth in Switzerland

Eurocontrol had forecast growth rates for 2019 of +5.6% for Zurich upper airspace, +2.5% for Zurich lower airspace, +5% for Geneva upper airspace and +0.3% for Geneva lower airspace. In fact, growth in Switzerland in 2019 was only weak. It recorded an increase of 1.1% in the upper airspace and 0.2% in the lower airspace of Geneva. Growth in Zurich airspace in 2019 fell by 0.1% in upper airspace and increased by 0.1% in lower airspace. The decline in the second half of the year was particularly marked in the Zurich area control centre, with a decrease of

-3.4%. However, this should be seen against the background of the very high growth rates in 2018.


The number of arrivals and departures at the airports fell by 0.8%. The traffic volume of the Swiss national airports fell in Geneva by 0.6 % and in Zurich by

0.9 %.


Instrument flight rules flights handled in 2019:


                                                                                           2019                       2018                             Change


Instrument flights                                                    1 304 910              1 298 754                             +0,5%

of which transit                                                           822 313                 808 445                             +1,7%


High overall punctuality of air traffic control

Skyguide received ambitious performance targets from the European Commission in the area of punctuality. Despite the large number of flights handled, skyguide was able to report a slight improvement in punctuality in 2019. 96.7% (previous year: 96.5%) of all flights were handled without delay by air navigation services. Skyguide thus met the requirements of the European Performance Plan.