Swiss Air Force increases 'opening hours'
The Swiss Air Force is gradually increasing its opening hours – now fighter jets are available at the weekends.
Ever since the country was embarrassed about having to allow Italian and French fighters escort a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines jet to Geneva airport two years ago as Swiss jets were unavailable, the government says its aim is to have the Swiss Air Force available at all times.
The fighters are now on alert at the weekends – and one was called out on Saturday. A business jet approaching Zurich airport declared an emergency as a cockpit warning showed the undercarriage had not deployed, an FA 18 was scrambled to check. The air force pilot was able to confirm the wheels were down and the civilian aircraft was able to make an ordinary landing.
Fighters are now available from 8am to 6pm 7 days a week. The times will be gradually extended until the target of 24 hour availability will be reached by 2020.