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Civilian airport in Lodrino to support drone innovations

The municipality of Riviera has been authorized to operate the former Lodrino military airport as a civilian airport in future. This offers security to companies based in the region. However, it will also support the development of the Swiss Drone Base Camp, a competence center for drones based at the new Switzerland Innovation Park Ticino.

The former Lodrino military airport will in future be used for civil aviation. This will benefit local companies as well as the planned drone competence center.
The former Lodrino military airport will in future be used for civil aviation. This will benefit local companies as well as the planned drone competence center. Image credit: Mike905/Wikimedia Commons

The municipality of Riviera has been authorized by the Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) to operate the former Lodrino military airport in the canton of Ticino. As the municipality announced in a press release, more than 100 jobs have been saved following this decision, which also offers security, for example, to the Heli TV helicopter service. The authorization will additionally see the Bern-based technology group RUAG, which also operates a location in Lodrino, build a new hangar for Heli TV this year.

The Swiss Drone Base Camp (SDBC) which is planned to be Switzerland’s first drone competence center based at Switzerland Innovation Park Ticino, also stands to benefit from the authorization. This is due to the fact that the change of use for the airport additionally entails permission for drones to be flown within a defined area.

“This represents a unique value proposition for an airport site and will enable the development of projects by companies that will locate at the center as well as existing firms already active on site”, Innovation Park Ticino writes in a press release. The focus is now on developing a suitable positioning strategy.

The canton of Ticino also welcomed the authorization for the repurposing of the former military airport, as the municipality of Riviera explains in its press release. This was made possible not least by the canton stepping in to cover the costs of 3 million Swiss francs for the renovation, extraordinary maintenance and the adaptation of the infrastructure. The Swiss Drone Base Camp fits in well with the canton’s economic development strategy and will contribute to increasing its innovative capacity. 

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