Airport Briefing




The Airport Briefing is meant to support you in your personal flight preparation. In this section you will find therefore some general information concerning the main operation issues of Sion Airport.

The personal flight preparation of any pilots intending to operate into Sion shall however go beyond the information contained in these pages, and shall be based on actual and updated official documents.

Note that an online application format for the Pilot Qualification Type A is available at the end of the Airport Briefing section.

Airport general

The Airport is open to IFR (Qualification is needed) and VFR flights, private, commercial and scheduled traffic.

Runway lenght

Runway width

Runway orientation

Airport elevation

AD categorie firefighting

2’000 meters

40 meters


1’582 feet

CAT 5 for charter traffic
CAT 3 for other traffic
Higher than CAT 3 for commercial flight:
O/R 3hr before ETA/ETD


IATA identifier

CAO identifier


Vallee du Rhône 2.5 km SW of Sion



Aéroport de Sion – CH 1950 Sion

Local weather phenomena and dangers


Valais lies in the South-West of Switzerland, stretching for 150 km along the narrow ribbon of the Rhône Valley between Lake Leman and the Rhône Glacier with boundary Italy (South) and France (West). A fascinating land of contrasts with an exceptionally mild climate, where the number of sunny days per year is well above the national average. The high surrounding mountains prevent most of the low-pressure weather systems and associated clouds to reach the region. The temperature vary from -10°C to +10°C in January to 25°C to 34°C in July and August. Snow reaches the lower elevations, but usually melts again within a few days.


Most of the time there are west winds aligned with the runway axis (RWY 25 in use). In a situation of high pressure north of the Alps and low pressure south of the Alps, strong north wind is prevailing. This wind called “Foehn”¹ causes turbulence and wind-shear. The Foehn is blowing into the valley, coming from the east. By such situation, the runway 07 is in use.

1 For “Foehn” definition search under :


Due to low air humidity, the visibility is usually more than 10 kilometers. In the evening when the sun is low over the horizon, the visibility can be reduced in west direction. Ground fog is almost unknown and is observed only during a few days in winter.


During the summer months, thunderstorms can build up and are sometimes quite violent. They initiate over the surrounding mountains and the wind into the valley can be very strong and variable.


Approximate 10 days per year the ceiling is below 4500ft/QNH (all day). Most of the time it is during winter when it’s snowing or raining. In that situation we can expect  low stratus clouds and therefore reduced visibility. When the cloud base is very low in the morning and the wind is blowing, we can expect a rapid improvement according configuration of the valley


Current METAR / TAF

Authorization levels

There are basically 2 different authorization levels given by the Sion Airport Authority:

  1. The Airport qualification A (more restrictive): DA 8’000 ft AMSL, day use only
  2. The Airport qualification B : DA lower according to aircraft category.

Find below the details of the different authorizations:

1) Airport qualification A


(see AIP Switzerland, section LSGS AD
To get the Airport qualification A, the flight crew shall study the airport briefing and successfully complete the application exam via internet. (AIP Switzerland, LSGS AD


IFR Arrival : (see AIP Switzerland, section LSGS AD 2.22)

VIS 8 km
Ceiling 6’500 ft AGL
Day only

IFR Departure :

VIS 8 km
Ceiling  6’500 ft AGL – VCM to GRANA
Day only

VMC to 17’000 ft
Day only

2) Airport qualification B

To get the Airport qualification B the operator or the pilot shall contact Sion Airport Authority:

Sion Airport Authority
Route de l’aéroport
CH-1950 SION

Phone: +41 27 329 06 00
Fax: +41 27 329 06 16

To achieve this authorization, the pilot must successfully complete the training, either on the aircraft or in an approved simulator :

Fly7 Training, Lausanne, Switzerland
FlightSafety, Paris le Bourget, France
FlightSafety, Farnborough, United Kingdom
FlightSafety, Teterboro, NJ, USA
FlightSafety, Wilmington, DE, USA
FlightSafety, Dallas, TX, USA
FlightSafety, Savannah, GA, USA
FlightSafety, Wichita East, KS, USA
CAE, Amsterdam, Netherlands
CAE, Dubai, UAE
CAE, Burgess Hill, United Kingdom
Star Wings, Dortmund, Germany
Alpha Aviation, Praha, Czech Republic
Lufthansa Aviation Training, Zurich, Switzerland
European Flight Simulator Training Centre, Aéroport Cannes-Mandelieu, France
AAA Aviation Academy Austria, Vienna, Austria
SIMCOM Aviation Training, Orlando, FLA, USA

For all other Flight Training Centers, please contact our instructor in charge for the Sion Airport Pilot Qualification, Mr. Pascal BUTHEY (CPT BD700 & PC12) –

3) Qualification A vs Qualification B

Main differences

Qualification A

DA 8’000 ft for IGS25 approach
Landing and take-off at Day only
High Performance in VMC only

Qualification B

Lowest DA 4’120 ft for IGS25 approach
Lowest DA 3’045 ft for RNAV RNP 25
Landing and take-off at night authorized
High Performance in IMC

Sion B Qualification training

Sion B Qualification training

Sion B Qualification training

Approach and departure procedures




For specific IFR approach and departure procedures refer to the AIP Switzerland.
Study carefully the requirements and conditions for the execution of different flights procedures.

Here you may view some pictures from the area and the circuits. Click to open full resolution in a new window.


East South East

East 1

East 2

South West

West South West




Departure SID or High performance SID

Departure SID HP (High Performance) only RWY 25: Departing flight must comply with the requirements mentioned under (see AIP Switzerland, section LSGS AD as well as the relevant procedure published on the SID charts. This departure is only valid for pilots holding a type B qualification or holding an A qualification providing VMC until reaching 17000 ft. For pilot holding a type A qualification the HP can only be used during day time.

Procedure Design Gradient (PDG) 13.4% to 8’100ft, 4.8% to 12’300ft.

If the aircraft is able to comply with PDG, the pilot advise ground at start-up and he can request for a SID high performance.

Departure SID, Day only : Departing flight must comply with the requirements mentioned under (see AIP Switzerland, section LSGS AD as well as the relevant procedure published on the SID charts.

Procedure Design Gradient (PDG) 4.2% to 6’300ft.

RUNWAY 25 :  Due to the configuration of the valley after departure break slightly to the right to have the maximum space, then turn left and join downwind 25. Proceed to the village of Vercorin (abeam GRANA) make a left turn towards GRANA (large factory south of Sierre city, 10.9 DME SIO VOR),  maintain VMC to pass GRANA at 6’000ft or above, when established on R068 to SIO VOR, climb IMC according SID. (see on this chapter MIL ON – MIL OFF)

RUNWAY 07 : After departure maintain runway heading in order to stay right side (south) of the vallee direction east. Proceed to the village of Vercorin (abeam GRANA), make a left turn towards GRANA, maintain VMC to pass GRANA at 6’000ft or above, when established on R068 to SIO VOR, climb IMC according SID. (see on this chapter MIL ON – MIL OFF)

Operations at night

For operation at night, the following conditions need to be fulfilled:

IFR Arrival

  • RWY 25 must be in use
  • DA according to aircraft category
  • Visibility 5 Km or more
  • The pilot must hold a Qualification type B
  • ACFT shall be able to comply with Sion high performance departure

IFR Departure

  • RWY 25 must be in use
  • Visibility 1’500 m
  • HP DEP only
  • The pilot must hold a Qualification type B
  • ACFT shall be able to comply with Sion high performance departure


Military activity (MIL ON)

Military activity ON (MIL ON) local time :

Monday : 10:00 AM – 11:50 AM / 01:30 PM – 05:00 PM
Tuesday-Friday : 08:30 AM – 11:50 AM / 01:30 PM – 05:00 PM

LSGS IGS and Missed Approach 4.9%

LSGS IGS and Missed Approach 4.9%


VFR Trafic

The good weather conditions along the valley encourages the VFR trafic which could be quite heavy, particularly during the week end. The glider activity extends from March to September and takes place mainly to the north of the airport. You can also expect paraglider activity on the mountain slopes.

Parachute jumping activity

It take place over the field from OCT to FEB.

Paraglider activity

This practice take place the whole year from the summits overhang the valley.



Application Exam

Answering correctly to 80% of the 20 questions will allow you to get the Type A Qualification Certificate.


[ Photo credit : © ALPARK ]