I hadn't been aware of this trend until Strategy Page pointed it out.
As of 2021 the Swiss Air Force is to provide 24/7 availability of jet interceptors to deal with any emergency, like a commercial, or any other aircraft, entering Swiss airspace without permission. Before that the F-18's were only available during business hours and it took six years to get Swiss voters to agree to the added expense of round-the-clock F-18 availability. It cost the Swiss spending an additional $34 million a year and the hiring of a hundred additional personnel to achieve this new level of readiness.
The cause of this change was an embarrassing February 2014 incident where Swiss F-18's failed to take off and intercept a hijacked Ethiopian Boeing 767 that was known, for several hours, to be headed their way. Initially two Italian fighters intercepted and escorted the 767 as it entered Italian air space near Sicily. When the 767 entered French air space on its final approach to Switzerland two French fighters took over and as the airliner entered Swiss air space the French fighters stuck with it. Swiss F-18s would normally take over at this point but, as was later explained, budget cuts and noise rules prevented the Swiss F-18's from taking off. Switzerland already had rules in place that would allow French fighters to enter Swiss air space in such an emergency. However, the French fighters could not fire their weapons without Swiss permission. The 767 landed at Geneva and the copilot, who planned to request political asylum, was arrested.
Swiss officials explained that because of budget cuts their air force could no longer afford 24/7 availability of its F-18's for emergencies. Exceptions could be made, but in this case they weren’t. That was apparently because there are also noise restrictions on F-18 use and since the 767 was arriving before 8 AM, the jets taking off would have been in violation of local aircraft noise rules. The Swiss did not see any problem with all this because they knew the hijacker wanted asylum and a French fighter escort would do. The neighbors were not happy with having to cover for the Swiss and there were subsequently similar incidents in other countries that demonstrated how disastrous the old Swiss approach was.
Even before the 2014 incident there was a situation where a Russian airliner with engine trouble entered Swiss air space outside of the air force business hours and no aircraft went to meet the airliner, which crashed killing all on board. The accident investigation revealed that if the airliner had a fighter escort it could have landed safely because the fighter pilots could have provided information the Russian pilot needed to get the plane down safely. Because no such escort was available there was a fatal crash.
The Swiss were not the only ones with this problem. For example, later in 2014 It was revealed that an Austrian Air Force Eurofighter (the Typhoon combat jet) squadron had to reduce its pilot roster by a third because of budget cuts. It wasn’t payroll cuts that caused this, but a much lower budget for jet fuel. There was now insufficient fuel available for all 18 pilots to fly enough hours to maintain their skills. Moreover two of the 12 Typhoons in the squadron have been grounded and used as a source of spare parts. Availability of Typhoons to intercept aerial intruders is also now restricted to what can best be described as “business hours” (eight hours a day for five days a week), similar to the old Swiss system.
The Austrian solution to cuts in the military budget was not unique and twice in 2014 such mandatory economies led to embarrassing incidents where a European air force was unable to send a jet fighter into the air to confront an aerial intruder.
There's more at the link.
That's mind-boggling. What would you call a town where the police only rendered law enforcement services during office hours? I'd call it a "crime-friendly environment" - an open invitation to after-hours criminals. The same could be said of military services who only operate "on the clock", and close up shop when "office hours" are over. That's a "threat-friendly environment". How can they possibly deter any threat, or respond to any emergency, when nobody is on-site, trained, equipped, and ready to deal with the problem?
Yes, I understand that military budgets are expensive things. Jet fighters, and the pilots to fly them, cost a great deal of money to buy and train, and even more to operate. The flight costs per hour of a typical modern fighter jet are staggering. Nevertheless, if you want your country to be able to defend itself, those are costs you simply have to pay. Funding half-measures gets you a half-defense . . . which won't be able to do much against a whole attack.
About sixteen or seventeen hundred years ago, Vegetius warned us: "Si vis pacem, para bellum" ("If you want peace, prepare for war"). I don't think anything's changed since he penned those words - or, at least, the history books don't give any grounds to believe that. Perhaps our politicians should have their attention drawn more often to that reality.