skyguide increases energy efficiency by over 40%


skyguide, the Swiss air navigation service provider, is helping to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of aviation while at the same time improving its own environmental performance. Skyguide has thus increased its energy efficiency by 40.5% between 2006 and 2019.

As a company with close ties to the Swiss Confederation, skyguide is committed to reducing air traffic emissions, as well as its own energy consumption through operational improvements. To this end, skyguide is investing in energy efficiency measures on the ground and in the air to improve traffic management while maintaining or even enhancing safety.

Skyguide guides aircraft as directly as possible to their destination in order to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gases. The company has therefore developed a network of direct flight routes over Switzerland and has improved procedures. This reduces aircraft flying time and minimizes their fuel consumption, thereby decreasing the carbon footprint significantly. The optimised approach traffic at Zurich Airport saves 700t of kerosene, 2100t of CO2 emissions and 90% of waiting time for airborne aircraft each year.

Today, satellite navigation is also more environmentally friendly: it allows flight paths to be independent of ground-based systems and thus more flexible route guidance. These more efficient flight routes lead to less kerosene consumption, less CO2 and noise abatement. To date, skyguide has already implemented more than 200 satellite-based approach procedures. As a result, some conventional ground based navigation systems can be decommissioned.

To enable air traffic controllers and pilots to communicate with each other, skyguide operates a radio system with 700 radio stations and 46 transmitter and receiver stations. The “Smart Radio” project launched in 2012 to renew the entire main radio system will now be completed in 2021. The latest generation of radio equipment also significantly improves energy efficiency. Compared to the previous equipment, it consumes 30% less energy thereby saving up to 200MWh of electricity per year.

Skyguide also relies on energy-optimized systems for its infrastructure, whether in the areas of IT, lighting or paper consumption. In 2019, for example, skyguide’s digitalisation strategy included equipment featuring the latest technology leading to greater energy efficiency exemplified by the substantial year-on-year improvement of an average of 6kg-decrease of paper per person per year. As a result, Skyguide has reduced its energy consumption in this area by 89%, an annual saving of 30MWh.

Alex Bristol, CEO of skyguide, says: “We are proud that we are also successfully doing our homework in the field of energy and climate from year to year and that we are meeting the strategic requirements of the Swiss Confederation. We are looking to the future and have made a commitment to the federal government to further increase the efficiency of air traffic – while maintaining a high level of safety”.

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