Switzerland's military and civilian air traffic control operations are to be brought together, in the first merger of its kind in Europe. It's hoped the new structure will help to reduce flight delays at the country's main airports.
The government accepted the legal basis for the merger on Wednesday, paving the way for a new organisation, to be called "Skyguide", to take responsibility for Switzerland's airspace.
The move was, first mooted in 1997, was driven partly by the growing number of civilian flights at Swiss airports, and the authorities hope the change will lead to a decrease in flight delays.
Skyguide has been functioning since the beginning of the year, after taking over operations from Swisscontrol. The corporate headquarters are to remain in Geneva, while the technical installations will be concentrated at Zurich-Kloten airport.
The merger should be complete by the end of 2003.
Another air traffic control project is still on the cards, according to the authorities. A common French and Swiss control centre could still be created in Geneva, although Paris has put the idea on the backburner for the time being.
swissinfo with agencies
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