Swiss regulator FOCA revises MeteoSwiss services charges

The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) has ruled that skyguide – and, by extension, all users of aeronautical meteorological services – were overcharged by MeteoSwiss.

The Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology (MeteoSwiss) provides the civil service for aeronautical meteorology and invoices the services provided to skyguide, the Swiss provider of air navigation services, which in turn finances its activities by passes on those charges.

The annual cost ceiling for aeronautical meteorology currently agreed between FOCA and MeteoSwiss amounts to 17.4 million francs. Based on the 2017 financial year, FOCA controlled the costs determined by MeteoSwiss, ie around 17.1 million francs.

FOCA’s final report notes that these costs, and more generally the cost ceiling set for measuring the costs of aeronautical meteorology, were too high, judging that the chargeable costs actually amounted to 14.5 million francs. This difference is explained by an imperfect cost accounting system.

FOCA’s control of the billing model did not however reveal any behaviour at fault.

In the course of 2019, a Federal watchdog commissioned KPMG to carry out an expert appraisal. It also reported excessive costs and considered MeteoSwiss calculations poorly substantiated. KPMG further suggested that MeteoSwiss should revise its cost accounting to improve cost transparency.

On FOCA’s recommendation, the cost ceiling was revised down from 17.4 to 14.5 million. Its report does not comment on possible action due to past overbilling