Federal Council wants to make Skyguide financially stable
Bern, 12.08.2020 - During its meeting on 12 August 2020, the Federal Council decided to support the Skyguide air traffic control company in 2020 and 2021 with up to CHF 400 million. Aviation cannot function without air traffic control. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of flights has collapsed, which means that Skyguide's fee revenue is declining sharply. The capitalisation by the Confederation is subject to conditions.
The entire aviation industry has been hard hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Aircraft movements at Swiss airports have dropped by more than 95%, which is affecting the air traffic control company Skyguide. Skyguide monitors Swiss civil and military airspace and is owned by the Confederation. It is mainly financed by fees for arrivals and departures and for overflights through Swiss airspace. The sharp decline in traffic is having a significant negative impact on revenues and is expected to lead to a liquidity shortfall from August/September 2020.
Skyguide expects losses totalling around CHF 400 million for 2020 and 2021. The equity of the company limited by shares, which stood at around CHF 320 million at the end of 2019, would be wiped out as a result. There is considerable uncertainty as to the pace of recovery in air traffic. It is also unclear whether an agreement will be reached at European level to share the losses of the air traffic control services between the airlines and the air traffic control companies (risk sharing).
Up to CHF 400 million will be needed in 2020 and 2021 to ensure Skyguide's financial stability. Within the framework of Addendum IIb to the 2020 budget, the Federal Council has asked Parliament to approve a capital injection of CHF 150 million. In a retrospective report for the 2021 budget, it has requested a further CHF 250 million for next year. However, it will not be decided until next year, on the basis of updated information, whether the entire CHF 250 million should also be injected into equity, whether part of it should be used as a loan or whether a lower amount will suffice due to risk sharing.
A condition for federal financial support is that Skyguide must introduce savings measures to reduce its liquidity needs. Skyguide has already decided on measures that will lead to total savings of between CHF 90 and 100 million between 2020 and 2024. In particular, they provide for a temporary freeze on staff salaries and efficiency gains through digitalisation projects. In addition, the Federal Council has already instructed Skyguide in the 2020-2023 strategic objectives to raise the retirement age of air traffic controllers appropriately. The Federal Council expects the unions and Skyguide to draw up a joint plan by the end of 2021 on how the retirement age of air traffic controllers can be raised from 56 currently to at least 60. This is in order to relieve the financial burden on Skyguide in the long term.
In order to comply with the Air Transport Agreement with the EU, Skyguide may only use the Confederation's funds for its sovereign tasks of providing civil and military air traffic control services.
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Federal Finance Administration FFA
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The Federal Council
Federal Finance Administration
General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC