Technical services

The increase in European air traffic can only be managed safely with the latest navigation technology. Ever-more-complex services demand long-term investment in enhanced processes and procedures, upgraded systems and acquiring and integrating the latest technologies.

The technical systems used to ensure the safety of air traffic are divided into four types:

  1. Aeronautical communication systems (R/T & COM): radio transmitters/receivers and internal and external telephone lines, links for aeronautical message exchange
  2. Radar systems, used to locate and track an aircraft’s position
  3. Flight data processing systems, used to precisely identify aircraft detected by radar
  4. Air navigation aids, the facilities on the ground which “mark out” the airspace above.

Our technicians and engineers, the Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP), install, operate, monitor and maintain these systems. Upgrading and refinements are ongoing processes, and skyguide is a recognised innovator in certain of its domains of excellence, such as stripless working methods and systems. In addition, skyguide actively participates in national and international development programmes.



Communications, Navigation & Surveillance (CNS)


Aeronautical communications, navigation, and surveillance systems are the backbone of air traffic management. These include surveillance (e.g. radar and multilateration), radio communications, and other key navigational and support equipment. Our technicians and engineers plan, develop, maintain, upgrade and restore these equipment on a continuous basis.


Aeronautical radio communications

Assuring flawless communication between pilots and traffic control is key to air safety. Skyguide maintains a complete infrastructure. All communication systems are secured by often several fallback systems.


Navigational equipment

Radio navigational equipment provides signpost in the sky, enabling pilots who fly by instrument to stay on course in any weather.The three most important ground-based navigational aids are VOR, DME and ILS:

  • VHF Omni-Directional Range (VOR) equipment is an ultra-short wave navigational aid used mainly in airways and close traffic areas of the airports. With the corresponding airborne equipment, the course can be determined from and to the VOR beacon.
  • Distance-Measuring Equipment (DME) shows the pilot the distance to a specified touchdown point on the runway or to a navigational transmitter.
  • Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) allow safe landings even during very bad visibility. The ILS consists of a localiser, a glide path and a DME. With the help of a cross-pointer instrument, IFR pilots receive exact position of their aircraft during the final approach (the last 15 km before landing), compared to the ideal landing centre line, the optimum glide path as well as the distance from the runway threshold.


Satellite-based procedures are growing in importance and skyguide is developing, in collaboration with other partners, new satellite-based navigation procedures. Such procedures have already been successfully implemented, for example at Zurich airport and in the approach to Inselspital in Bern.



Radar is a radio-electric locating procedure, with differences between primary and secondary radar. While primary now plays a minor role in civil air traffic control, except for landing, it is important in compiling the visual representation of the air traffic for military airspace monitoring and fighter control.


Secondary radar equipment supplies additional information from aircraft equipped with transponders (IFR) – flight number, altitude, and speed – which also appears on the screen of the air traffic controller. Skyguide has 2 primary and 6 secondary radar devices, located in Geneva, Zurich, La Dôle and Lägern.


Flight calibration partnership with Germany and Austria


Flight calibration ensures that air navigation systems work correctly and reliably to deliver accurate information.

Skyguide is in a joint venture partner of FCS Flight Calibration Services, together with DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung and Austro Control. Located in Braunschweig, Germany, FCS is equipped with the latest technology to provide flight inspection services not only for the air navigation services providers of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but also for their military partners.