Twelve Pilatus employees help maintain the Pilatus training aircraft in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Swiss companies have to report such transactions with foreign armies to the Federation, as they can be tricky foreign policy. In the case of Saudi Arabia, for example, because the Gulf State is at war in Yemen.
Pilatus may not have kept its legal obligations in the Saudi Arabia business. Already in October, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) initiated a notification procedure.
Research by Radio SRF now shows that the Federal Foreign Affairs Department has extended the procedure to a so-called test procedure. The law establishes an audit procedure when there is evidence that a transaction threatens Switzerland's security, foreign policy objectives, neutrality or even its humanitarian obligations.
Pilatus confirms the ongoing review procedure to Radio SRF and states in writing: “Pilatus remains committed to all statements made earlier and is not aware of any guilt. Pilatus is cooperating comprehensively and transparently with the FDFA in the ongoing review process.”
Pilate is therefore wrongly in the sights of the investigation. The company apparently relies on an earlier mail from the FDFA. In it, the authority has confirmed: The Saudi Arabia business - ie the aircraft maintenance - is covered by the export license for the training aircraft of 2012.
Since then, the maintenance contract has been renewed. And with the Yemen war, the political situation has changed. Whether the original authorization is still valid is therefore debatable.