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Air force may need to train in foreign airspace

Switzerland's air force may have to train over neighbouring countries to reduce noise in popular tourist regions, defence officials said on Monday.

At a roundtable meeting with canton officials from Lucerne, Bern, Vaud and Valais – areas with military airstrips – Defence Minister Samuel Schmid discussed ways to allow the air force the 22,000 take-offs and landings it needs to do each year.

Residents and local officials near the airfields have long complained about the noise the jets make. The defence ministry will wait until November 7 to collect comments from the cantons in question before deciding how to deploy fighter jets for training exercises next year.

Flying over foreign airspace may be an option. Next summer Swiss pilots plan to participate in training manoeuvres over northern Germany.