…but rather than leading to tension, this one is set to aid cooperation. Switzerland and Italy last week agreed to allow cross-border aircraft training, creating a 45x70 km airspace to allow expanded operations for each service and also facilitate joint training.
The Swiss side already was a military training area and is attractive because it is one of the few places in the regional airspace not littered with civilian air traffic. The operational floor is 20,000 ft., so Swiss officials stress there is no additional noise burden on the local populace.
The Cross Border Area has been in discussion since 2005 and has involved civil aviation and air traffic management authorities.
The first actual training in the new CBA is slated for next year. Switzerland already maintains a similar arrangement with France; that CBA was put in place in 2002.
The establishment of the new CBA could be viewed as good news for Eurofighter Typhoon, which is competing against the Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen in Switzerland’s F-5 replacement program due to be decided next year. Eurofighter officials have been arguing there is training and operational value in having Switzerland buy an aircraft neighboring countries Italy, Austria and Germany operate. The Swiss government says CBA are taking on ever greater importance as Europe moves to functional airspace blocks – air traffic control constructions being implemented under the Single European Sky project.