The national air traffic control agency, Skyguide, handled a record volume of air traffic last year and made a net surplus of SFr14.49 million ($11.42 million).This content was published on April 19, 2006 - 14:03
The company, which is based in Geneva, has faced an uphill battle since its creation in 2001, both in terms of operating safety, quality and cost (see related story).
At a news conference in Zurich on Wednesday, Skyguide said it handled 1.13 million instrument flight rules (IFR) flights in 2005, beating the 1.11 million recorded in 2000.
Total operating revenues of SFr353.86 million were 3.2 per cent down on the previous year's SFr365.39 million.
It attributed the decrease to the reduction in the charges it levied for its services, which were only partially offset by the increase in traffic volumes.
"2005 was a good year for us overall, in both business and operating terms," commented company chairman Guy Emmenegger.
Skyguide said in a statement that despite the rise in traffic volume, punctuality was maintained at its high prior-year levels.
The average number of flights subject to an air traffic control-related delay last year was 262 per day (251 in 2004), or around eight per cent of daily traffic volume – below the European average of ten per cent.
The company reported a year-on-year increase in traffic volumes handled of just under three per cent for 2006 to date.
Skyguide says both it and Eurocontrol – the European Organisation for the Safety of air Navigation – expect to see an annual increase in air traffic volumes of about three per cent over the next ten years.
Chief executive Alain Rossier noted the latest technological innovations at the company's Geneva area control centre.
The company last December became one of the first air navigation services providers in Europe to adopt a system that eliminates the traditional paper flight slips in favour of a wholly-integrated operation.
Further technological innovations were also introduced with the new system.
"In adopting these new technologies, we have primarily enhanced the safety of our operations, Rossier commented.
"But they have also helped us raise the efficiency of our performance and the capacity of the airspace under our control," he added.
Skyguide said that the completion of the new air navigation centre outside Zurich marked another "milestone" in company efforts to integrate fully Swiss civil and military air traffic management operations.
swissinfo with agencies
The busiest day for Skyguide in 2005 in terms of traffic volume was July 8, when 3,721 flights were handled.
Skyguide managed and monitored an average 3,105 flights a day during the year.
A large proportion of the year-on-year traffic volumes handled came from overflight traffic, which at 704,013 flights was 3.9% up on the 677,350 flights of the previous year.
Skyguide is responsible for providing air traffic services within Swiss airspace and in that of a number of adjoining regions in neighbouring countries.
It is a non-profit limited company under Swiss private law, with the government owning more than 99% of the shares.
The company generated turnover of SFr353.86 million in 2005. It employs about 1,400 people at 12 locations in Switzerland.
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