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Air space Swiss beef up air police service

A FA-18 Hornet from the Swiss Army flies next to a civil plane

The round-the-clock service is expected to create 100 jobs and cost CHF30 million. 

(Keystone)

The Swiss Air Force is extending its service hours as part of a plan to set up a 24-hour air police duty.

As of January 1, two fighter jets will be available for 16 hours a day around the year, according to the defence ministry.

The measure will allow the policing of 90% of air traffic in Switzerland, according to a statement published earlier this week.

It is the latest step in a programme, decided by the defence ministry in 2015, to introduce a 24/7 service. In two previous phases combat-ready aircraft were available during daytime for 365 days a year.

Swiss pilots will undergo special training at night time to be ready, when the round the clock service is introduced in 2020, according to an army spokesman.

The Swiss Air Force made international headlines in 2014 when it failed to intervene in an incident with a hijacked plane which landed at Geneva airport at 6am.

Since no Swiss aircraft was available at the time, jets from neighbouring Italy and France had to be summoned to escort the hijacked plane.

swissinfo.ch

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