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Court case Pilatus challenges ‘export ban’ to Saudi Arabia and UAE

Red PC-21 training aircraft with instructor and student

Pilatus has produced mainly military training aircraft for nearly 80 years.

(Keystone/Christian Beutler)

The Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus plans to take the foreign ministry to court for banning the company from operating in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Pilatus said the ban, announced at the end of last month, was incomprehensible, damaging and disproportionate as it set a deadline of 90 days to end all support activities in the two Gulf countries.

“It’s a slap in the face of Pilatus and its more than 2,000 employees. It amounts to a future export ban,” according to a statement published on Friday.

The companyexternal link said it was challenging the foreign ministry’s decision at the Federal Administrative Court. The firm wants the legal security necessary to compete in the market.

Pilatus also slammed Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis for refusing to consider its arguments.

The chairman of the board, Oscar Schwenk, reiterates that the company had done nothing illegal.

However, the foreign ministry argues that the business activities of Pilatus with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, providing technical support and spare parts for the fleet of 55 PC-21 military training aircraft, was in violation of the law. The services amount to logistical support of armed forces, according to the ministry.

Saudi Arabia has been involved in the military conflict in neighbouring Yemen since 2015.

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