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or nationals; foreigners residing in Switzerland; or foreign companies associated with Swiss citizens or companies by virtue of international accords (such as the agreement with the EC described below).82 Crews engaged in domestic air passenger and freight services must be EC or EFTA nationals or Swiss residents. Crews from third countries can be employed if the SECO deems their employment necessary, which normally is the case, according to the authorities.
Switzerland has three national (Zurich, Geneva, and Basel) and ten regional airports. Total passengers reached 33.5 million in 2006, up from 28.2 million in 2002; Zurich accounts for nearly 58% of all passengers. The canton of Zurich holds a 33% stake in Zurich airport, while Geneva airport is fully owned by the canton of Geneva.83 According to the authorities, no state subsidies are granted to the airports. Swiss International Air Lines is Switzerland's largest airline; since 2005, it has been fully owned by Lufthansa. In 2007, it carried 12.2 million passengers and had a turnover of Sw F 4,895 million.
Passengers arrivals and departures increased from 27.9 million in 2004 to 36.3 million in 2007. Airport services are provided mostly by independent companies. The revenues from airport charges (weight-, noise-, and emission-related landing charges, passenger charges, parking charges, and handling charges) are used to finance all airport-related expenses. Airport charges are subject to the general supervision of the Federal Office for Civil Aviation and the Price Controller. According to the authorities, the regulations on ground handling are based on the relevant EC directive.84 Air carriers are not required to use domestic repair and maintenance facilities.85
Skyguide, a state-owned company, is responsible for managing and monitoring civil air traffic in Swiss airspace, at Zurich, Geneva, Berne, and Lugano airports (but not EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg), as well as it has been assigned in adjoining non-Swiss airspace.86 Its activities are mainly financed by fees. Switzerland participates in the EC's Single European Sky project, but is not part of the European Common Aviation Area (ECCA).
Since 2002, the Swiss regulations on slot allocation have been harmonized with the relevant EC regulation.87 Slots are required for the Zurich and Geneva airports and are allocated by Slot Coordination Switzerland, an independent, non-profit organization supervised by the OFAC. Sales of slots are not permitted.
International traffic rights for transport of passenger and freight from non-EC/EEA countries are generally governed by bilateral agreements and contingent upon reciprocity provisions. Some 145 agreements are in place (June 2008). In order to carry out operations in Switzerland, a foreign carrier must have been designated by its home country. Agreements may be of a single-designation type, allowing only for one carrier per signatory, or multiple-designation. Most agreements are based on capacity sharing, and specify frequency and rates; recent exceptions are the "open sky" agreements with the United States and Pakistan.88 The authorities indicate that Switzerland's current policy is to seek liberal agreements, including on ownership and control.
82 For limited companies, over half of the voting shares must be nominal, and be owned by Swiss residents or companies, or by foreigners who are associated with them by virtue of international accords.
83 Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg is a bi-national airport, owned by the Swiss authorities (Confederation and Cantons) and the French Government.
84 RS 748.131.1 refers to EC Directive No. 96/67.
85 The applicable regulations are: RS 748.127.2; RS 748.127.22; RS 748.127.23; and RS 748.127.3.
86 For further information, see Skyguide online information, "About Skyguide". Viewed at: http://www.skyguide.ch/en/AboutSkyguide/.
87 EC Directive No. 95/93.
88 RS 0.722.214.171.124 and RS 0.7126.96.36.199.