Your Daily Scan of the New Global Economy


Intel Switzerland

  • First certified electric plane takes off in Switzerland

    The world’s first certified aircraft powered by electricity has completed its maiden flight in western Switzerland. The two-seater Pipistrel Velis Electro is mainly used for basic pilot training. It flew over a village near Fribourg last week, announced Switzerland’s Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) on Monday. Its certification came via close cooperation between FOCA and other aviation authorities, as well as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Slovenian manufacturer Pipistrel. In the three years leading to the certification process, FOCA and the others defined the conditions for its operation, maintenance, and pilot and personnel training. Thanks to this small plane, aviation authorities have been able to gain experience in approving low-emission types of aircraft propulsion. In mid-March, EASA approved its electric motor. Now FOCA and EASA have a foundation for future certifications of low-emission and environmentally friendly aircraft that reduce air…


  • How Swiss staycationers are scouting out your next Alpine getaway

    Let’s dispose of the bad news right from the start. If you’re reading this and don’t live in Europe, chances are you’re not going to make it to Switzerland this year. Now for the good news. Swiss holidaymakers are enjoying their summer staycations, flooding like never before into unsung corners of the country. And by doing so they’re stimulating local economies and encouraging alpine towns and villages to double down on investments they’ve been making in sustainable tourism: cosy accommodation for longer-term stays, hiking and cycling itineraries, the sale of homegrown products, cooking or language courses, or guided walks to learn about the flora and fauna. It is a moment worth seizing to restore the vitality of villages that have up to now missed out on the tourism boom. How do you benefit? When you do manage to travel here again, you’ll have more choice. Don’t get me wrong – tourist infrastructure already exists in these little-known places (I’ll name some of them lower down).


  • Murdoch becomes major shareholder in Swiss MCH group

    James Murdoch, the son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, has been elected to the board of directors of the leading Swiss exhibitions group, MCH. His investment firm, Lupa Systems, is to hold up to 49% of the shares of the group that organises the Art Basel and the Baselworld watch and jewellery fairs. The MCH Group is expecting a 50% drop in sales for the current year. An extraordinary shareholder meeting also confirmed two other new members of the board as well as two capital increases for a total of up to CHF104.5 million ($114.3 million), according to a company statement published on Monday. “The shareholders have expressed their support for both the package of measures to manage the corona crisis and the strategic realignment,” MCH Group CEO Bernd Stadlwieser is quoted as saying. He also called on the group of shareholders – which had opposed the plans – to cooperate with the management and board of the MCH Group. The company stages several hundred events annually, mostly in…


  • Pandemic crashed demand for hotels and trains

    The number of overnight stays in Swiss hotels practically halved in the first six months of the year. Covid-19 also hit demand for public transport, with passengers notching up a third of their normal distances by train in the past three months. Hotels saw 9.9 million overnight stays from the start of the year until the end of June, a drop of 47.5% compared with the same period in 2019. The year had started well for the hospitality industry, with January and February showing increases in guest numbers, before Covid-19 virtually shut the business for the next three months. Overnight stays plummeted 62% in March, 92% in April and 79% in May compared with the previous year. The fall in numbers was particularly pronounced among foreign guests (minus 88% in the first half of 2020) compared with a quarter fewer domestic guests. June saw improvement, with 1.44 million overnight stays in Swiss hotels, but this was still 62% below 2019 numbers. Not on track The pandemic and subsequent…


  • Switzerland’s dark business with Ukrainian coal

    Pro-Russian separatists are financing their war in Ukraine with coal deliveries to the West. Now the role of Swiss companies in Zug and Geneva is being investigated, according to a report in the SonntagsZeitung. V* AG describes itself on its website as a “reliable and responsible supplier of high-grade solid fuels”, selling “coal of Russian and Kazakh production”. The Ukrainian judiciary sees things differently: it has named the Zug-based company in a criminal case concerning the illegal import of hard coal from the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, which is occupied by pro-Russian separatists. In addition to V* AG, the judiciary has named three other companies that are domiciled in Switzerland or whose owners are Swiss. They are not directly accused, but the Swiss are said to have helped Ukrainian companies export the “black gold” to Ukraine and EU countries, the SonntagsZeitung reported. Other than Siberia, Donbass is the only region in Europe and Russia where anthracite…


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