After two years of heavy losses due to the pandemic, Swiss air navigation services reported a slightly positive business result for 2022. However, the total volume of traffic in 2022 was still around 12.1% lower than in 2019 and demand is still very volatile. With the strong increase in air traffic last year, however, the air navigation service provider's operating result improved. Skyguide closed the 2022 financial year with a profit of CHF 11 million, an increase of CHF 130 million on the previous year's CHF -119 million. Skyguide did not draw on the CHF 100 million refinancing approved by parliament for 2022. The CHF 250 million loan granted by the Swiss Confederation during the pandemic for 2021 will be repaid by Skyguide from 2023 onwards, as the company will be able to start charging the airlines for the losses incurred in 2020 and 2021.
Skyguide handled and monitored 1 147 007 flights under instrument flight rules (IFR) in 2022. This represents a significant year-on-year increase of 66.2% . However, it is still 12.1% below the 2019 figure. Demand continues to be highly volatile. The significant increase in air traffic is mainly due to the resumption of holiday air traffic after the pandemic-related crisis.
Traffic recovery leads to significant improvement in operating income
Skyguide's operating income for 2022 rose by almost 39% to CHF 484 million (previous year: CHF 349 million). Operating expenses amounted to CHF 471 million, a slight increase of 1.95% on the previous year's CHF 462 million. The net result improved by CHF 130 million to CHF 11 million (previous year: CHF -119 million).
Safeguarding air supremacy and sovereignty
Skyguide also provides military air navigation services on behalf of the Swiss Air Force and was able to guarantee all its missions from the Air Defence and Direction Center (ADDC) and military-use airfields in the year under review. Given the current geopolitical situation in Europe, the Swiss Air Force's proven and close partnership with Skyguide is of particular importance.
Skyguide CEO Alex Bristol expresses his satisfaction with the 2022 business result: "After two years of pandemic and an almost complete collapse in commercial aviation, this result is gratifying and allows us to begin repaying the loan from the Swiss Confederation. In the current year we will continue to invest in the robustness and resilience of our systems and for this we need to find financial solutions."
Walter T. Vogel, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Skyguide, sees a clear path to the future: "For us, innovation is the key factor in ensuring efficient and sustainable air navigation services. With the Virtual Centre strategic programme, we are ensuring that Skyguide will be able to cope with the consequences of increasing volatility in traffic volumes in the future."