The Swiss Air Force didn’t respond to a hijacking over Swiss airspace on Monday because it happened outside the normal business hours of the nation’s air force, which only flies between 08h00 and 17h00.
The Ethiopian Airlines 767 co-pilot hijacked his own flight while en route from Addis Ababa to Rome, and instead flew it to Geneva to seek asylum, according to ATA. But even though Italian and French fighters were scrambled, Swiss fighter jets were grounded throughout the entire incident because of “budget and staffing” concerns.
The co-pilot took over the flight when the pilot left the cockpit for the toilet. On returning the pilot found the door locked and failed to regain entry despite trying to batter it down.
The hijacker requested asylum on his approach to Geneva. It was only when fuel levels fell to 10 minutes’ flying time, that the hijacker agreed to land. Once parked on the tarmac, he tossed a rope out of the cockpit window and clambered down into the hands of the Geneva police (who incidentally were working).