A hijacked Ethiopian Airlines plane was headed to Switzerland, but had to be intercepted by French/Italian fighter jets because the Swiss Air force doesn’t work on nights and weekends.
Is the Swiss Air Force too civilised because their fighter jets stick to office hours and they also stop for an hour and a half for lunch, and there’s no service at weekends?
It was French and Italian jet pilots who escorted the Ethiopian Airlines plane hijacked by its co-pilot safely to Geneva airport on Monday morning in february this year – because, at 6.02am, it was still nearly two hours before the Swiss air force came to work.
“Switzerland cannot intervene because its airbases are closed at night and on the weekend,” spokesman Laurent Savary told AFP. “It’s a question of budget and staffing.” In recent years military spending has decreased. Fewer jets have been bought and many of its pilots have become reservists. Now the country relies on its neighbours’ military capabilities. The Swiss government now wants to spend almost $3bn on 22 new Swedish-made fighter jets. The deal will be put to a referendum in May, though according to recent polls 53% of voters are against it. If it happens, it could mean a move to round-the-clock capabilities from around 2020.