As an economic centre and tourist destination, Switzerland relies on an efficient international air transport network. Switzerland establishes aviation relations with other countries through bilateral agreements and active involvement in various international organisations.
The FDFA maintains close contact with the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), which is responsible for developing aviation policy and regulating civil aviation in Switzerland. The FDFA is involved in key air transport negotiations with other countries and assists FOCA at international aviation meetings with a foreign policy dimension.
International rules and regulations significantly shape aviation, which is, by its very nature, a global activity. Cooperating closely with other countries and international aviation organisations is therefore essential.
Switzerland is a member of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a UN specialised agency based in Montreal. The ICAO develops standards for global air transport in support of a safe, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector. The European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) is responsible for implementing measures at European level. Alongside the ECAC, the European Union (EU) plays a major role in defining the overall framework for air travel. The EU established the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) of which Switzerland is also a member.
Air transport agreements
Switzerland and the EU concluded a bilateral air transport agreement in 2002, which allows Swiss carriers to access the liberalised European market. In addition to this agreement, Switzerland has entered into more than 140 bilateral air transport agreements with other countries. These agreements are crucial, as they enable Swiss airlines to operate flights on international air routes. They govern the allocation of air traffic rights between Switzerland and the relevant signatory countries.