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Restrictions During the WEF; Meiringen, January 25 & 26, 2018

The Suisse Quick Reaction Alert, part 2; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

During the WEF it is common in Switzerland that one airfield will host the increased operating activities in this period. The responsible airfield for these actions will rotate annually. During this year’s event Meiringen in Luzerne will fly the CAP missions. There are 24 hours a day fighters ready to respond to an alarm.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an annual meeting of the CEOs of the largest companies in the world. The forum participants are international politicians such as presidents, prime ministers and other politicians, intellectuals and journalists. A total in of 2,500 officials take each year part to the WEF. The WEF organizes in the winter a large annual meeting in Davos in eastern Switzerland and also several regional conferences on all continents. The WEF is an influential meeting for many parties as there are many heads of state and influential persons of great companies come together. The WEF was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab M. This man was a Swiss professor and a successful businessman. The WEF is headquartered in Geneva, where the organization is registered as a nonprofit foundation. This location employs more than 400 people from over 50 nationalities. The main task of the Swiss Armed Forces is to support the canton of Grisons with security operations during the WEF. This civilian operation comprises in the first instance contains the protection of facilities and personnel. However, the protection of the air sovereignty and safeguarding of the Swiss airspace is the main task of the Swiss Air Force. Some other important tasks of the armed forces are providing logistical support during the WEF. These are mainly the Coordinated Medical Services (GMS) .More than 5,000 men of the armed forces will serve in this civilian mission which will take during this forum from January 22 until January 29, 2018.

During the WEF, the overall security of the Swiss security services has been drastically increased. This means that the surveillance of the airspace is done 24 hours a day and that during this period there are also 24 hours a day aircraft ready to intervene if necessary. There are many important government leaders and industrial presidents present during the WEF. The interests are therefore very large to secure the country well. The country is usually monitored with the help of the FLORAKO

system. The FLORAKO radar system which is consisting of fixed radars can optionally be supplemented with two mobile TAFLIR (TAktische FLIeger Radar) radars. These Ground Master 200 radars are of type AN/MPQ-64 and are a variant of the Northrop Grumman AN/TPS-75 radar. These mobile radars can be used in areas with difficult terrain or where specific coverage is required. In peace time the TAFLIR radars are stored in Dübendorf and Emmen. They can be used anywhere in times of crisis or war. The WEF is usually a meeting of such great importance that the radars are also deployed around the area in Davos. Where the radar stands is kept secret by the Swiss government. In addition to Switzerland, neighboring countries such as Italy, Germany and Austria will also keep an eye on the airspace during the WEF. The Swiss are not the only ones who fly CAP missions, because the Austrians do this too. This is done because Davos is located in the east of Switzerland not far from the Austrian Alps. The surveillance leaders of these countries are therefore closely connected with each other during the WEF.

Air traffic throughout Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and the northern part of Italy will be restricted within a radius of 25 nautical miles (about 46 km) from the center of Davos in Switzerland. Arrivals and departures at the regional airports and heliports are subject to specific rules and procedures drawn up by the Swiss Air Force in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Aviation. Visual flight rules (VFR flights) are performed on predetermined routes and require prior authorization and accreditation for the pilots and their aircraft. From January 11, 2018 applied accreditation must be arranged at least 24 hours before the estimated take-off time to be submitted to the Air Force. As of January 19, 2018, the application must be arranged 72 hours before take-off. Flights not according to defined routes and flights to Davos are subject to a license. After the accreditation in the WEF period has been granted, a request for each flight needs to be done to the Air Force. The Air Force then decides in accordance with the operational requirements and safety if the application is submitted. The detailed procedures for applications are set out in official publications for aviation. The Swiss Air Force will patrol the skies in support of civil authorities and support flights using helicopters, propeller aircraft and fighter jets. In this period the Swiss Air Force will fly intensive and more noise will be produced at the airfields.

During the WEF it is normal in Switzerland that an airfield takes the increased operating activities for its account. The responsible airfield is rotated annually. This year it is Meiringen in Luzerne which is organizing the CAP missions. To support the increased flying activity, there are several F/A-18 Hornets from the Payerne Air Base flown to Meiringen to attend the WEF. It will be the last time that the WEF will be held at Meiringen. Last year it was also the last time for Sion that the WEF was flown from there. From 2019, the WEF will only be flown from Payerne. For Meiringen this year will also be the last year in which the F-5E Tiger II will operate from this airbase. The aircraft are removed here, because the F-5E has reached the end of its lifetime. The Tiger fleet will be smaller and will only be used from Payerne. What the future of Meiringen will be with respect to the deployment of the F/A-18 Hornet is not yet clear. Fliegerstaffel 8, which flew with the F-5E, was formally disbanded at the end of 2017. During the WEF two planes fly continuous simultaneously around in Switzerland. The flights usually consist of two F/A-18 Hornets. The fighters are patrolling during the WEF in groups of two aircraft in the Swiss airspace. The aircraft will climb to large heights after take-off and then they fly CAP patrols. When an unidentified aircraft enters the airspace or when a known plane deviates from its flight plan, fighter planes will intervene and force the aircraft to land.

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