In November 2019, Genève Aéroport addressed the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA), requesting it to authorise flights calibrating the Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Very high frequency Omnidirectional Range (VOR) outside normal flight hours. The FOCA accepted this request. Three flight sessions will take place, at night, in February, April and September 2020.
The first calibration session, subject to the weather conditions at the time, will start this evening, 4 February 2020, and could last until 7 February 2020 at 4:00 am.
International civil aviation rules oblige airports to regularly check the proper functioning and precision of navigation aids. To this end, an especially equipped plane – a twin engine propeller aircraft, like the Beech Hawker Super King Air 350 – will be used to make a series of approaches. The approaches may take routes that differ to those normally taken by aircraft. In Switzerland, calibration flights are made in collaboration with Skyguide, the authority monitoring air space.
As calibration flights taking place during daytime disrupt air traffic, Genève Aéroport asked the FOCA for extraordinary authorisation to plan the flights at night, when the airport is closed. The FOCA gave a favourable response to this request, predicting that the circa twenty calibration flights scheduled for the session would in fact disrupt air traffic and make the operation more complicated.
With the aim of developing alternative calibration solutions that are less disruptive, in particular, to locals, experimental drone flights will be conducted alongside the twin-engine aircraft flights in 2020.
For the year 2020, Genève Aéroport has obtained authorisation to organise calibration sessions during the nights of 3rd to 7th February 2020, 22nd to 28th April 2020, 17th to 18th September and 7th to 9th October 2020. If necessary, or in the event of poor weather, the flights will take place during back-up nights in February, April and October.
To ensure weather conditions are appropriate, the definitive dates of the calibration flights are confirmed around 24 hours before the operations. Information is then made available to the public through this communication.