Skyguide COVID-19: implementation of required cost savings with the “Virtual Centre”

Skyguide, Federal Finance Administration, Federal Office of Civil Aviation

Key facts

The COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on Skyguide. The lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed had the effect of reducing air traffic, and therefore revenues. This led to a tight equity and liquidity situation. The Federal Council financially stabilised Skyguide with a capital increase of CHF 150 million in 2020, and with a loan of CHF 250 million with a subordination option in 2021. In return, the Federal Council expected it to make efforts to cut costs. Skyguide communicated a savings target of between CHF 120 million and CHF 130 million by means of various measures, one of which was the “Virtual Centre” programme that aimed to make efficiency gains of CHF 21 million by 2024. The objective of the Virtual Centre was to harmonise and modernise air traffic management from the technology on the ground and the operational procedures, through to airspace design. The Swiss Federal Audit Office (SFAO) audited the cost savings achieved with the Virtual Centre.