Swiss Fighters Deploy to Intercept Rogue Aircraft, Laufen, Swtizerland

Local Swiss media (Nau) reported this morning that two Swiss F/A-18 fighters scrambled to intercept a private jet over Laufen, Basel-Country, Switzerland. The plane lost contact with air traffic control, prompting the fighters to be reassigned from a training mission. The F/A-18s made visual confirmation on the jet and hailed it on emergency frequencies, at which point the jets deemed the aircraft not to be a threat and ended the escort.

This incident comes as the civil aviation situation in Switzerland continues to degrade. Swiss Air Traffic Controllers have been publicly lambasting the private company, Skyguide, for understaffing and technical issues. Indeed, in 2022, Swiss airspace was closed for 5 hours due to such malfunctions and in 2016 a Swiss F/A-18c crashed in the Susten Pass after receiving an incorrect altitude call from a Skyguide tower in Meiringen.

In 2025, Skyguide will have a shortage of 25 air traffic controllers, much due to the fact that the company cannot attract enough young talent amidst low-interest and aptitude concerns. The entrance exam only has a 5% pass rate, and you cannot be older than 28 to apply.

While it is not fair to attribute today’s incident to Skyguide, this incident is indicative of a worsening air control picture in the European state.