Pilatus challenges ‘export ban’ to Saudi Arabia and UAE

Pilatus has produced mainly military training aircraft for nearly 80 years. Keystone/Christian Beutler

The Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus plans to take the foreign ministry to court for banning the company from operating in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This content was published on July 5, 2019

Pilatus said the ban, announced at the end of last month, was incomprehensible, damaging and disproportionate as it set a deadline of 90 days to end all support activities in the two Gulf countries.

“It’s a slap in the face of Pilatus and its more than 2,000 employees. It amounts to a future export ban,” according to a statement published on Friday.

The companyExternal link said it was challenging the foreign ministry’s decision at the Federal Administrative Court. The firm wants the legal security necessary to compete in the market.

Pilatus also slammed Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis for refusing to consider its arguments.

The chairman of the board, Oscar Schwenk, reiterates that the company had done nothing illegal.

However, the foreign ministry argues that the business activities of Pilatus with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, providing technical support and spare parts for the fleet of 55 PC-21 military training aircraft, was in violation of the law. The services amount to logistical support of armed forces, according to the ministry.

Saudi Arabia has been involved in the military conflict in neighbouring Yemen since 2015.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Weekly top stories

Keep up to date with the best stories from SWI on a range of topics, straight into your mailbox.


The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.