Skyguide generated gross revenues of CHF 468.1 million in 2019 and incurred operating expense of CHF 434.4 million. Under current European regulations, part of the revenues earned must be reimbursed to users. And this, combined with a negative financial result and the fact that the services it provides in the foreign airspace assigned to its charge are insufficiently remunerated, led the company to report a net loss for the year of CHF 5.5 million, despite the reduced expense.
The annual volume of air traffic managed and monitored by skyguide saw a further slight increase in 2019, though this growth was below European forecasts. Total revenues for the year were CHF 13.7 million down on 2018, owing in particular to the reductions made to air navigation services charges. Operating expense was reduced by CHF 15.3 million. As a result, skyguide reported an operating profit for 2019 of CHF 33.7 million (prior year: CHF 32.1 million).
Skyguide expects to report moderate traffic growth of around 1% for 2020. The strength of the Swiss franc remains a burden for skyguide’s airspace users, and weakens the company’s competitive credentials on the European air navigation services market.
The operators of Switzerland’s regional airports have been responsible for collecting their own air traffic services charges since 2017, with skyguide invoicing these operators in turn for the services it provides. Each airport sets its own charge regime and fixes its own landing charges. For 2019 the costs of such services were covered by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation, to ensure that air traffic services were duly provided at these regional airports. But a longer-term solution is still being sought for the financing of such services at the airports concerned.
Swiss airspace is among the most densely used in Europe. The various intercontinental airports around Switzerland all generate substantial air traffic. And this, together with the traffic to and from Switzerland’s own airports, ensures 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.
To manage and monitor this complex airspace safely and as efficiently as possible – in both economic and ecological terms – skyguide puts a consistent emphasis on innovation in all its endeavours. In 2019, this approach enabled the company not only to fully perform its public service mandate, but also to position itself as one of Europe’s leading innovators.