Swiss Fighter Jets Grounded Since Ethiopian Hijacking Occurred Outside Business Hours

Weekends and nights, the rich Alpine state relies on France for air defense

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Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

A F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft of the Swiss Air Force is seen in front of a church on February 20, 2013 at Payerne airport.

When an Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot hijacked a plane early Monday and forced it to land in Geneva, no Swiss fighter jets were scrambled to escort the aircraft, since the incident happened outside business hours, which reportedly run from 8 am until noon, then 1.30 to 5 pm.

“Switzerland cannot intervene because its airbases are closed at night and on the weekend,” Swiss airforce spokesman Laurent Savary told AFP. “It’s a question of budgeting and staffing.”

There are plans to make air force coverage round-the-clock, but they depend on whether the Alpine population will approve the replacement of their old American jets with new Swedish ones in an upcoming referendum.

Until then, Savary says that Switzerland is getting airborne policing help from its neighbors, mainly France.

[AFP]

8 comments
kurtis.engle
kurtis.engle

Ah, the pleasures of peace. Think of all the things you don't have to do when everyone knows you ain't coming to get them, and they ain't coming to get you.

ShahinEH
ShahinEH

Very strange to call F-18 Hornet an old American jets!!?? There are many countries that still using F-4 and F-5 effectively and defend their air space!!??

TheInternetCrusader
TheInternetCrusader

Why rely on France when the US Air Force can fly anywhere in Europe unrestricted?

RobertNguyen
RobertNguyen

Its one of the best idea for world peace...No fighting on holidays and weekends...

brettochampion
brettochampion

So I guess if you're planning on invading Switzerland any time soon, you can adjust your schedule accordingly.

TheInternetCrusader
TheInternetCrusader

@brettochampion  Switzerland has never been invaded because every man from 17 to 45 years of age are required to have military training and have at home a uniform and a rifle. That is the Swiss version of the "2nd Amendment" and it seems to work for them.

strayer6x9
strayer6x9

@TheInternetCrusader @brettochampion I guess with that kind of firepower, no military would stand a chance of invading.   My son picked up an automatic weapon left behind in haste to make the train in Zug.  Can I keep it Daddy?   Anyway, the French took similar fortitude in their long chain of turreted anti personnel/tank weapons.  I believe that this didn't work so well against Nazi's.  No one will invade CH not because of their "trained " military, but because strategically there isn't anything to gain.  Maybe get some of that Nazi geld that they have been hording for 60 yrs.


jerry48
jerry48

@strayer6x9 : and the germans had the Siegfrid line which didn't help them either at the end of the war for exactly the same reason .

the idea is not to prevent the invasion of Switzerland but to make it Hell for the invaders . the Nazis lost thousands of soldiers in the montains of Yugoslavia .