The last decade has seen a shift of priorities and points of reference in the aviation sector.
The economic downturn has negatively impacted both private and commercial flight operations.
International laws and legislative decisions that regulate the development of aviation have imposed a more strict sets of rules and regulations to which operators must adhere.
The 1998 and and 2003 JAR OPS regulations imposed on the Lugano-Agno instrument approach procedures are one of the examples of these more restrictive standards.
Of particular significance is the decision deliberated in October 2000 by the Federal Council to keep BOTH Lugano-Agno and Locarno-Magadino as main airports of reference for our region “ Piano settoriale dell’infrastruttura aeronautica – PSIA “.
The reasoning behind the decision was that Lugano-Agno represents a key point of connection between the major urban areas within the region and Locarno-Magadino remains one of the most important Swiss airports that is not served by scheduled airline service.
In 1999, State Authorities established a plan of studies leading to a project of development for the Locarno-Magadino Airport, aimed at extending the east side of the main runway by approximately 170 meters.
In 2001, Federal Authorities confirmed this plan with the provision that the project would not negatively impact the surrounding natural environment.
The Swiss State Council has now undertaken the task of finalizing the approval for the development of the project.
Upon receiving approval, and after conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis and an evaluation for actual demand, the Government is to submit an official request for the loan of funds to the General Council.
This project will indeed meet with current European Union recommendations for private aviation (JAR OPS2), requiring the lengthening of runways for comparable areas of demand, due to technological advancements in aircraft manufacturing.
The Department of Land and the State Council have together developed plans to ensure that the project can offer long term sustainability in the area of environmental protection.
More specifically, to safe-guard the environment, a set of regulations have been proposed to limit certain types of flight operations such as: 1) towing for gliders, 2) flights to transport sky-divers, 3) pilot training flights, 4) activities over the "Bolla Rossa".
Additionally, there is a goal to decrease the estimated 63.000 civil aviation yearly movements (Federal Council 2000 projections), to numbers more in line with the early 1990s civil activity of about 55.000 movements.