The Swiss air force will no longer transport civilians in its jets in response to the crash of an F/A-18 last month in France.
Politicians, celebrities and journalists will no longer be able to ride along in the jets. In 2014, four such guests rode in military jets on the invitation of the air force, and six have done so this year, according to documents reported on by Swiss Public Television SRF.
The air force’s move is a reaction to the crash of a jet on October 14. The F/A-18 was involved in an air combat training exercise with two Tiger aircraft in the cross-border training airspace between Switzerland France. The fighter, with just the pilot on board, took off from the Payerne airbase in Switzerland and crashed outside the French city of Besançon.
The pilot was able to eject from the plane and survived the crash. No civilians were on board, and the cause of the crash remains under investigation in both Switzerland and France.
The F/A-18 fighter was one of a fleet of 34 procured by the Swiss air force in the mid-1990s. There are now 31 left in service.
In October 2013, one of the same type of aircraft was destroyed with the loss of two lives in central Switzerland. Another F/A-18 crashed in canton Valais in 1998, killing its two occupants.
swissinfo.ch and agencies