The air traffic controllers of the future earn twice as much

SkyGuide’s air traffic control training allowance will be more than doubled to attract young professionals. Instead of CHF 2,400, students will in future receive CHF 5,000.

Going forward, anyone training to become an air traffic controller with SkyGuide will receive more than double the salary of their predecessors while training. Skyguide increases the training allowance from CHF 2,400 to CHF 5,000 per month. This is reported by various CH media outlets. This is due to the impending staff shortage in air traffic control.

Not all apprenticeship positions are filled

Skyguide boss Alex Bristol has told CH Media that there should be enough air traffic controllers available by next summer. Afterwards, as in all of Europe, it will be important. Skyguide trains 50 students per year. Not all places have been filled for the next year of training, which begins in September.

“Dipl. Air Traffic Control Officer HF” lasts two and a half years and requires a high school diploma or apprenticeship. Students must also be no older than 30. While other students pay their own training In addition, in the first year they now earn CHF 4,000 instead of CHF 2,400 before, after which they are CHF 5,000.

A Skyguide employee controls the monitor and a view of the airspace on the Skyguide in the tower of Zurich Kloten airport, pictured April 10, 2014. In the tower of Zurich airport, Skyguide air traffic controllers supervise roll maneuvers, take-off and landing and traffic in the immediate vicinity of Zurich airport in the control zone with a radius of approximately 20 km around the airport.  (Keystone/Christian Beutler) Skyguide employees working in the tower at Zurich airport in Switzerland, April 10, 2014. Tower air traffic controllers supervise taxi, take-off and landing maneuvers and monitor traffic at immediate proximity to the airport, i.e. a control zone of approximately 20 km around the airport.  (Keystone/Christian Beutler)
SkyGuide staff in the tower at Zurich Kloten Airport. (archive picture)

Keystone/Christian Beutler

The air traffic controller was responsible for the disaster

However, the job also comes with a lot of responsibilities. Any mistake can end in disaster. For example in Berlingen in Germany in 2002. An airliner collided with a cargo plane more than eleven kilometers above Lake Constance. All 71 passengers, including 41 children, died.

It was later revealed that technical faults and human error in the Skyguide caused the crash. There is currently an air traffic controller at the Zurich control center who is solely responsible for southern German airspace and whose radar and telephone functions are limited due to maintenance work. The man realizes too late that an accident is imminent.

The wandering pilot was stabbed to death by a bereaved relative in 2004. The criminal had lost his wife and children in the crash. The crash and subsequent murder of the air traffic controller made headlines around the world.

breakdown trigger theft chaos

SkyGuide’s disbandment last month also grabbed the headlines, albeit of a different kind altogether. Operations stopped on the morning of June 15 due to a technical problem. The result was a complete air traffic control failure and a temporary closure of Swiss airspace.

Skyguide celebrates a big birthday

SkyGuide can now look back on the company’s long history. Swiss air traffic control has existed for 100 years. It was originally founded as Marconi Radio AG to develop wireless telegraphy. Six years later, it became Radio Schweize AG, where it was commissioned by the federal government to manage air traffic control. The company owned by the Swiss Confederation has only had the name Skyguide for 20 years.

Desk with LED marking the runway, on the skyguide in the tower of Zurich Kloten airport, pictured April 10, 2014. In the tower of Zurich airport, SkyGuide air traffic controllers supervise roll maneuvers, take-off and landings, as well as traffic.  Near Zurich airport, within a radius of approximately 20 km around the airport in the control area.  (Keystone/Christian Beutler) Lights mark the runway in the tower of Zurich airport in Switzerland April 10, 2014. Tower air traffic controllers oversee taxi, take-off and landing maneuvers and monitor traffic at immediate proximity to the airport, i.e. an area of ​​approximately 20 km around the control airport.  (Keystone/Christian Beutler)
Desk with LED indicating the runways on the skyguide in the tower of Zurich Kloten airport. (archive picture)

Keystone/Christian Beutler