Location and history
The first flights on the West runway at Zurich Airport took place in June 1948, and the blind landings runway was opened for operation in November that same year. In 1972 a strict night-time curfew entered into effect. Zurich Airport continued to grow: Dock B was completed in November 1975, and ten years later – in November 1985 – Dock A was handed over for operation. A few months later, in April 1986, the construction of the new control tower was completed.
On 2 October 2001, in the midst of the comprehensive construction programme associated with expansion stage 5, Swissair experienced the worst day in its existence: its entire fleet was grounded, and the group subsequently went into bankruptcy. Nonetheless, the expansion work at the airport went ahead as planned, and was concluded in September 2004 with the opening of Airside Center. Zurich Airport celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2008.
Zurich Airport is operated by a private company, Flughafen Zürich AG, which employs approximately 1,400 staff. Together with more than 260 business partners and around 24,000 employees at the airport, Flughafen Zürich AG ensures that the comprehensive public transport infrastructure functions smoothly and efficiently for all users of the airport.
Infrastructure and capacity
Zurich Airport has three docks (A, B and E) plus a variety of bus gates. Dock B is currently being completely revamped, and is expected to be handed over for operation again at the end of 2011 (see “Projects / outlook” below). More than 730 flight movements a day take place on its three runways, providing air travel for around 56,800 passengers. In addition, more than 1,000 tonnes of freight and around 70 tonnes of mail are handled each day at Zurich Airport. The airport has a total of 195 aircraft stands (gates, remote stands, hangars). To reach Dock E from Airside Center, passengers take a cable-operated air-cushion shuttle train (Skymetro), which is utilised by 700,000 to 800,000 passengers and is thus Switzerland's most highly frequented cable railway.
Zurich Airport has excellent connections to the country’s public transport networks. It has had its own railway station – the seventh largest in Switzerland – since 1980, with around 300 daily train connections, plus a bus terminal offering 600 connections a day, and the recently opened Glattalbahn tram service. Thanks to 3 motorway junctions within a radius of 6 kilometres, a separate motorway exit and more than 17,000 parking spaces, Zurich Airport also offers excellent facilities for road users.
Zurich is Switzerland’s biggest airport and functions as the country’s gateway to the world. It is simultaneously a major transport hub and commercial centre for travellers, visitors and airport employees.
Flughafen Zürich AG is holder of the operating licence, which is valid until 2051, and sets out to generate added value while fully complying with the regulatory requirements and performing its official mandate. It focuses strongly on meeting consumers’ requirements. The fact that Zurich Airport receives numerous prestigious awards (e.g. World Travel Award, Business Travel Award) each year clearly underscores its popularity and the high quality of its services.
Projects / outlook
Numerous construction projects are to be implemented at Zurich Airport over the next few years, including “Zurich 2010”, the purpose of which is to provide modified and new infrastructure to facilitate the implementation of the Schengen Agreement. The first new facilities were already handed over for operation on 24 October 2008, and the Schengen Agreement itself was officially implemented at Zurich Airport on 29 March 2009 to coincide with the changeover to the summer flight plan. As of the above date, Schengen and non-Schengen passengers have had to be strictly separated. The biggest tasks within the scope of the “Zurich 2010” project are the renovation and alteration of Dock B, which is to be transformed into a combined Schengen / non-Schengen dock, and will also include a spectators’ terrace. Another major project concerns the centralisation of the security check facilities: the new building should be ready for operation at the end of 2011, and will make air travel at Zurich Airport even smoother and more convenient for passengers.
(not for operational & aeronautical use / no official publication)