Skyguide in 2017: strong earnings reduced by pension scheme provision; pioneering innovatory role in the drone segment

Skyguide, Switzerland’s air navigation services provider, raised its annual earnings in the 2017 financial year. The company’s operational performance in Europe’s most complex airspace was also highly satisfactory. With 97.0% of its flights handled without delays, skyguide retained its punctuality almost at its very high 97.2% prior-year level. In the en-route segment, the average delay amounted to 0.17 minutes or around ten seconds per flight.

Skyguide’s total operating revenue for 2017 amounted to CHF 470.3 million, a 3.4% improvement on the CHF 455.0 million of the previous year. Total operating expenses were up 13.8%, from the CHF 422.4 million of 2016 to CHF 480.8 million. Earnings before interest and taxes for the year were negative at CHF -10.5 million (compared to a positive CHF 32.6 million for 2016), owing to a one-off CHF 53.0 million provision in respect of the skycare company pension scheme.


More traffic, higher revenues and greater operating expense

Skyguide saw a further 3.2% increase in its annual traffic volumes, which rose to almost 1.24 million controlled flights. The traffic growth is partially attributable to the relatively low oil price, economic recovery in the Eurozone and Europe’s improved security situation.


Skyguide raised its route charges 0.1% in 2017. Approach charges for the international airports of Geneva and Zurich were reduced by 0.9% to the benefit of its customers.

“Our 2017 operating and financial results are basically sound, and confirm the sustainable impact of the actions we have taken over the past few years,” says Walter T. Vogel, Chairman of the Skyguide Board of Directors. “While our bottom-line result is ultimately a negative one, this is due to the one-off provision for our company pension scheme. To ensure that we remain on track, we will continue to specifically deploy our resources to promote advanced training, sustainable capacity development and innovative technologies and procedures.”


Skyguide’s innovation attracts international attention

Skyguide announced a new strategic partnership with AirMap at the World ATM Congress in Madrid at the beginning of this month. The collaboration will establish the first national platform for integrating drones into urban airspace (U-Space). The project, which is the first of its kind in Europe, attracted sizeable attention. The new system should be up and running by next year.



Several personnel changes on the Executive Board and Board of Directors

The Skyguide Executive Board has seen a number of personnel changes over the past few months, with four new members joining its ranks. Alex Bristol was appointed CEO with effect from 1 July 2017. He was succeeded as Head of Operations (COO) by Urs Lauener. Klaus Affholderbach took over as Head of Safety, Security & Quality (CSO) on 1 January 2018. Myriam Käser joined the company as Head of Communications at the end of February 2018. And Nicole Leyre will join the Executive Board as the new Head of Finance (CFO) on 1 July 2018. The company also saw a change on its Board of Directors last year, where Res Schmid was elected to its ranks.


Skyguide remains well positioned. And, as a result, the company will be able to continue to sustainably pursue its adopted strategy through a phase of major technological change.