Zürich Airport

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Zürich Airport
Flughafen Zürich
Zurich airport logo.png
Zurich airport img 3324.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Flughafen Zürich AG
Serves Zürich, Switzerland
Location Kloten, Rümlang, Oberglatt, Winkel and Opfikon[1]
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL 1,416 ft / 432 m
Coordinates 47°27′53″N 008°32′57″E / 47.46472°N 8.54917°E / 47.46472; 8.54917Coordinates: 47°27′53″N 008°32′57″E / 47.46472°N 8.54917°E / 47.46472; 8.54917
Website zurich-airport.com
ZRH is located in Switzerland
Location of airport in Switzerland
Direction Length Surface
ft m
10/28 8,202 2,500 Concrete
14/32 10,827 3,300 Concrete
16/34 12,139 3,700 Concrete
Statistics (2014)
Passengers 25.512.134 [2]
Passengers change 13-14 Increase2.5%
Aircraft movements 264.970 [2]
Movements change 13-14 Increase1.0%

Zürich Airport (German: Flughafen Zürich, IATA: ZRHICAO: LSZH), also known as Kloten Airport, is the largest international airport of Switzerland and the principal hub of Swiss International Air Lines. It serves Zürich, Switzerland's largest city, and, with its surface transport links, much of the rest of the country. The airport is located 13 kilometres (8 mi) north of central Zürich, in the municipalities of Kloten, Rümlang, Oberglatt, Winkel and Opfikon, all of which are within the canton of Zürich.[1][3]

The airport is owned by Flughafen Zürich AG, a company quoted on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Major shareholders include the canton of Zürich, with 33.33% plus one of the shares, and the city of Zürich, with 5% of the shares. No other shareholder has a holding exceeding 3%.[4]


Early years[edit]

A Swissair Douglas DC-8 at Zurich Airport in 1965

The first flight abroad from Switzerland was on July 21, 1921. In the early years of aviation, the Dübendorf Air Base, located some 8 km (5.0 mi) to the south-east of Zürich Airport, also served as the city's commercial airfield. The need for a dedicated commercial facility lead to a search for a location for a replacement for Dübendorf. In 1945, the federal parliament decided that Zürich was to be the site of a major airport, and sold 655 hectares (1,620 acres) of the Kloten-Bülach Artillery Garrison (German: Artillerie-Waffenplatz Kloten-Bülach) to the Canton of Zürich, giving the canton control of the new airport. The construction of the airport began the next year.[5][6]

The first flights off the west runway were not until 1948. The new terminal opened in 1953 with a large air show that ran for three days. In 1947 the airport handled 133,638 passengers on 12,766 airline flights; in 1952, 372,832 passengers on 24,728 airline flights. The first expansion of the airport was submitted in 1956, but the budget for the expansion was not approved by the Swiss Government until 1958 and the expansion was completed in 1961.[5][7]

On 18 February 1969, an El Al aircraft was attacked, whilst being prepared for takeoff, by four armed members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The attack was repulsed by the aircraft's security guard, resulting in the death of one of the terrorists, whilst the Boeing 720's co-pilot subsequently died of his injuries.[8]

On 18 January 1971, an inbound Balkan Bulgarian Airlines Il-18D approached Zurich Airport in fog below the glideslope. It crashed and burst into flames, 0.7 kilometres (0.43 mi) north of the airport, when both left wingtip and landing gear contacted the ground. Seven crew members and 38 passengers were killed.[9]

The airport was again submitted and approved for renovation in 1970, and Terminal B was completed in 1971. The first signs of noise mitigation for the airport were in 1972, when a night-time curfew was enacted, as well as in 1974 when new approach routes were introduced. Runway 14/32 was opened in 1976, and 16/34 began renovation.[5]

1980 onwards[edit]

The noise of aircraft became an issue and a noise charge was instituted in 1980, and in 1984, an agreement was made regarding arrivals and departures to the airport via German airspace. The next largest event for the airport was in 1999, when the Parliament of the Canton of Zürich approved privatization of Zurich Airport. It was not until 2000, that Flughafen Zürich AG, trading under the brand Unique was appointed as the new airport operator. The brand Unique was dropped in favour of Zurich Airport and Flughafen Zürich in 2010.[5][10]

On the 2 October 2001, a major cash-flow crisis at Swissair, exacerbated by the global downturn in air travel caused by the September 11 attacks, caused the airline to ground all its flights. Although a government rescue plan permitted some flights to restart a few days later, and the airline's assets were subsequently sold to become Swiss International Air Lines, the airport lost a lot of traffic. Since Lufthansa took over Swiss International Air Lines in 2005, traffic has started growing again.

On 18 October 2001, a treaty was signed between Germany and Switzerland regarding the limitation of flights over Germany. Under the terms of this treaty, any incoming aircraft after 22:00 had to approach Zürich from the east to land on runway 28, which, unlike the airport's other runways, was not equipped with an instrument landing system. A month later, at 22:06 on the 24 November, an inbound Crossair Avro RJ100 using this approach in conditions of poor visibility crashed into a range of hills near Bassersdorf and exploded, killing 24 of the 33 people on board. The flight had originally been scheduled to land on runway 14 before 22:00, but it was subject to delay and was therefore diverted to runway 28.[5][11]

In 2003, Zurich Airport completed a major expansion project in which it built a new parking garage, a new midfield terminal, and an automated underground people mover to link the midfield terminal to the main terminal. In November 2008, a complete renovation and rebuild of the old terminal B structure was announced. The new terminal B opened in November 2011, and provides segregated access to and from aircraft for Schengen and non-Schengen passengers.[12] Zurich Airport handled 25.5 million passengers in 2014, up 2.5 percent from 2013.[13]

On 18 February 2015, Etihad Regional ceased two thirds of its scheduled routes without further notice, amongst them all services from Zürich except the domestic service to Geneva.[14][15][16] Etihad Regional blamed the behavior of competitors, especially Swiss International Air Lines as well as the Swiss aviation authorities for their failed expansion.[15]


World Travel Awards, an international jury of hospitality experts and peers decided on awards presented to hotels, airports, airlines and other hospitality companies, has evaluated Zurich airport as the best European airport from 2004 to 2015,[17] according to various aspects, such as accuracy, entertainment, friendliness and punctuality.[18]


Terminal A for domestic and Schengen destinations
International Terminal E

Terminal complex[edit]

The airport has three airside piers, which are known as terminals A, B and E (also signposted as Gates A, B/D and E). These are linked to a central air-side building called Airside Center, built in 2003. Alongside the Airside Center, the ground-side terminal complex named Airport Center comprises several buildings, and includes airline check-in areas, a shopping mall, a railway station, car parks, and a bus and tram terminal. All departing passengers access the same departure level of the Airside Center, which includes duty-free shopping and various bars and restaurants, via airport security. They are then segregated between passengers for Schengen and non-Schengen destinations on the way to the gate lounges, with the latter first passing through emigration controls. Arriving Schengen and non-Schengen passengers are handled in separate areas of the Airside Center and reach the Airport Center by different routes, with non-Schengen passengers first passing through immigration controls.[19][20]

The three airside terminals are:

  • Terminal A, containing gates prefixed A, which opened in 1972, and it is used exclusively by flights to and from destinations inside the Schengen Area, including domestic flights within Switzerland. It takes the form of a finger pier, directly connected at one end to the Airside Centre.[19]
  • Terminal B, containing gates prefixed B and D, which originally opened in 1971 but was reopened in November 2011, having been extensively rebuilt over a period of three years. Like terminal A, it takes the form of a finger pier directly connected at one end to the Airside Centre. As rebuilt, it is designed to handle both Schengen and non-Schengen flights at the same gates. Each such gate has two numbers, one prefixed B and the other D, but with different passenger routes to and from the gates in order to keep the flows of Schengen and non-Schengen passengers separate.[19][21]
  • Terminal E, containing gates prefixed E, also known as the midfield terminal or Dock E, is a stand-alone satellite terminal located on the opposite side of runway 10-28 from the Airside Center, and situated between runways 16/34 and 14/32. It is entirely used by non-Schengen international flights and became operational and was opened on September 1, 2003. It is connected to the Airside Center by the Skymetro, an automated underground people mover.[19]


Zurich Airport has three runways: 16/34 of 3,700 m (12,100 ft) in length, 14/32 of 3,300 m (10,800 ft) in length, and 10/28 of 2,500 m (8,200 ft) in length. For most of the day and in most conditions, runway 14 is used for landings and runways 16 and 28 are used for takeoffs, although different patterns are used early morning and in the evenings.[22]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Zürich Airport offers scheduled and charter flights to 170 destinations in 62 countries around the world.[23]

Airlines Destinations
Adria Airways Ljubljana
Aegean Airlines Athens
Seasonal: Heraklion, Rhodes
Aer Lingus Dublin
Aeroflot Moscow-Sheremetyevo
airBaltic Riga
Seasonal: Heringsdorf (begins 14 May 2015)[24]
Air Berlin Alicante, Arrecife, Berlin-Tegel, Brindisi, Catania, Faro, Düsseldorf, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Larnaca (begins 25 March 2016),[25] Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Antalya, Corfu, Funchal, Heraklion, Hurghada, Ibiza, Kos, Lamezia Terme, Marsa Alam, Naples, Olbia, Patras/Araxos, Pristina, Rhodes, Rimini, Samos, Sharm el-Sheikh, Skopje, Sylt, Zakynthos
Air Berlin
operated by Belair
Hurghada, Pristina, Sharm el-Sheikh, Skopje
Seasonal: Antalya, Marsa Alam
Air Canada Toronto-Pearson
Air France Paris-Charles de Gaulle
AIS Airlines Bremen
Air Malta Malta
Air Serbia Belgrade
Alitalia Rome-Fiumicino
operated by Alitalia CityLiner
American Airlines New York-JFK
Seasonal: Philadelphia
Austrian Airlines Vienna
BH Air Seasonal: Burgas, Varna
Blue Islands Seasonal: Jersey (begins 7 May 2016)[26][27]
British Airways London-Heathrow
British Airways
operated by BA CityFlyer
Bulgaria Air Sofia
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
Corendon Airlines Seasonal: Antalya
Croatia Airlines Zagreb
Seasonal: Dubrovnik, Split
Delta Air Lines New York-JFK
Seasonal: Atlanta
easyJet London-Gatwick, London-Luton
Edelweiss Air Antalya, Arrecife, Catania, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Havana, Hurghada, Larnaca, Palma de Mallorca, Pristina, Punta Cana, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão (begins 22 April 2016),[28] Sharm el-Sheikh (suspended),[29] Skopje, Tampa, Tenerife-South
Seasonal: Bodrum, Cagliari, Calgary (resumes 28 May 2016),[28][30] Cape Town, Corfu, Dalaman, Edinburgh, Faro, Heraklion, Ibiza, Kos, Lamezia Terme, Las Vegas, Malé, Marrakech, Marsa Alam, Mykonos, Olbia, Podgorica, Phuket, Reykjavik-Keflavik, Rhodes, Santorini, Split, Vancouver, Varna
El Al Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion
Emirates Dubai-International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Etihad Regional
operated by Darwin Airline
Eurowings[31] Düsseldorf, Hamburg
Finnair Helsinki
operated by Nordic Regional Airlines
Freebird Airlines Seasonal: Bursa
Germania Flug[32] Antalya (begins 2 May 2016), Beirut (begins 1 May 2016), Hurghada (begins 2 May 2016), Larnaca (begins 26 April 2016), Palma de Mallorca (begins 29 April 2016),[33] Pristina, Skopje, Vilnius (begins 2 June 2016)
Seasonal: Calvi (begins 22 May 2016),[34] Gran Canaria, Heraklion (begins 25 April 2016), Kittilä (begins 26 December 2015),[33] Kos (begins 30 April 2016), Marsa Alam, Rhodes (begins 3 May 2016), Varna (begins 7 June 2016)
Germanwings Cologne/Bonn
Helvetic Airways Bordeaux, Ohrid, Pristina, Skopje
Seasonal: Brindisi, Calvi, Heraklion, Inverness, Lamezia Terme, Palma de Mallorca, Pristina, Shannon
Seasonal charter: Glasgow-International, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Kos, Larnaca, Marsa Alam, Menorca, Rhodes, Rovaniemi
Iberia Madrid
Icelandair Seasonal: Reykjavík-Keflavík
KLM Amsterdam
operated by KLM Cityhopper
LOT Polish Airlines Warsaw-Chopin (resumes 1 January 2016)[35]
Korean Air Seoul-Incheon
Seasonal: Vienna
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich
Lufthansa Regional
operated by Lufthansa CityLine
Montenegro Airlines Podgorica
Niki Vienna
Seasonal charter: Genoa
Nouvelair Seasonal charter: Enfidha
Oman Air Muscat
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen
Qatar Airways Doha
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca
Royal Jordanian Amman-Queen Alia1
Scandinavian Airlines Copenhagen, Oslo-Gardermoen, Stockholm-Arlanda
Singapore Airlines Singapore
Sun d'Or International Airlines
operated by El Al
Seasonal: Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion
SunExpress Antalya, İzmir
Seasonal: Bodrum (begins 6 May 2016),[36] Dalaman (begins 3 May 2016)[36]
Swiss International Air Lines Alicante (begins 19 March 2016),[37] Amsterdam, Athens, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Barcelona, Beijing-Capital, Belgrade, Berlin-Tegel, Boston, Brussels, Bucharest-Otopeni, Budapest, Cairo, Chicago-O'Hare, Copenhagen, Dar es Salaam, Delhi, Dubai-International, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Gran Canaria, Geneva, Hamburg, Hanover, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul-Atatürk, Johannesburg, Lisbon, London-Heathrow, Los Angeles, Madrid, Málaga, Manchester, Miami, Milan-Malpensa, Montréal-Trudeau, Moscow-Domodedovo, Mumbai, Muscat, Nairobi, New York-JFK, Newark, Nice, Oslo-Gardermoen, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Porto, Riga, Rome-Fiumicino, Saint Petersburg, San Francisco, São Paulo-Guarulhos, Shanghai-Pudong, Singapore, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion, Tokyo-Narita, Toulouse, Valencia, Venice-Marco Polo, Vienna, Warsaw-Chopin
Seasonal: Brindisi, Catania, Izmir, Malta, Palermo, Santiago de Compostela, Thessaloniki
Swiss International Air Lines
operated by Austrian Airlines
Düsseldorf, Graz, Lugano, Luxembourg, Lyon, Munich, Nuremberg, Stuttgart
Swiss International Air Lines
operated by Helvetic Airways
Birmingham, Brussels, Bucharest-Otopeni, Budapest, Florence, Göteborg-Landvetter, Graz, Hannover, Manchester, Milan-Malpensa, Naples, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Prague, Sofia, Stuttgart, Warsaw-Chopin
Swiss International Air Lines
operated by Swiss Global Air Lines
Amsterdam, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi (begins 8 July 2016),[38] Bilbao, Brussels, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Florence, Frankfurt, Geneva, Göteborg-Landvetter, Hanover, Hong Kong (begins 10 April 2016),[39] Kraków, Leipzig/Halle, Ljubljana (ends 3 January 2016), London-City, Los Angeles (begins 9 June 2016),[39] Luxembourg, Lyon, Manchester, Milan-Malpensa,[39] Munich, Naples, Newark (begins 30 October 2016),[39][40] Nice, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Prague, Rome-Fiumicino, San Francisco (begins 1 September 2016),[41] São Paulo-Guarulhos (begins 1 August 2016),[38] Sarajevo, Sofia, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion (begins 28 August 2016),[41] Toulouse (ends 3 January 2016),[42] Venice-Marco Polo, Zagreb
Seasonal: Bari
Tailwind Airlines Seasonal charter: Antalya[43]
TAP Portugal Lisbon, Porto
Thai Airways Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi
Tunisair Djerba,[44] Tunis
Seasonal: Enfidha
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk
Twin Jet Toulouse (begins 11 January 2016)[45]
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev-Boryspil
United Airlines Newark, Washington-Dulles
Vueling Alicante (begins 16 June 2016),[46] Barcelona, Gran Canaria (begins 2 April 2016),[47] Lanzarote (begins 11 June 2016),[47] Lisbon (begins 12 June 2016),[47] Málaga, Rome-Fiumicino (begins 27 March 2016),[48] Tenerife-North (begins 8 June 2016)[47]
Seasonal: Ibiza, Santiago de Compostela

^1 Royal Jordanian's flight to Amman make a stop in Geneva. The airline, however, does not have eighth freedom rights to transport passengers solely from Zurich to Geneva.


Airlines Destinations
Turkish Airlines Cargo Algiers, Istanbul-Atatürk[49]


Statistics of the Zurich Airport from 1982 to 2014 incl. passengers, transfer passengers, flights handled and freight in metric tons
Zurich Airport with the Swiss Alps visible in the background
Interior view of the landside area
Helvetic Airways Fokker 70 landing at Zürich Airport.

Route statistics[edit]

Busiest routes at Zurich Airport (2014) [50]
Rank City Total departing passengers
1 London (Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Luton, Stansted) 855,857
2 Berlin 477,678
3 Vienna 471,448
4 Paris 363,096
5 Amsterdam 361,823
6 New York (Newark Airport, JFK Airport) 355,781
7 Düsseldorf 350,809
8 Istanbul (Istanbul-Atatürk, Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen) 316,533
9 Frankfurt 297,142
10 Barcelona 293,801
11 Dubai 252,043
12 Hamburg 244,503
13 Madrid 241,297
14 Geneva 231,972
15 Palma de Mallorca 224,477

Passenger development[edit]

Zurich Airport Passenger Totals 1950-2014 (millions)
Updated: 16 January 2015
Statistic Zurich Airport (2015)
month passengers passengers change 14\15 aircraft movements movements change 14\15
September[51] 2,452,446 Increase02.4% 23,498 Decrease01.3%
September[51] 2,460,946 Increase03.1% 24,018 Decrease00.3%
August[52] 2,694,640 Increase04.1% 24,833 Increase00.7%
July[53] 2,673,965 Increase05.7% 24,950 Increase02.0%
June[54] 2,311,757 Increase00.8% 23,604 Decrease01.3%
May[55] 2,297,316 Increase06.2% 23,368 Increase01.0%
April[56] 2,184,853 Increase02.5% 21,478 Increase01.2%
March[57] 1,988,825 Increase02.6% 21,058 Decrease00.3%
February[58] 1,670,172 Increase01.6% 18,303 Decrease00.5%
January[59] 1,749,732 Increase02.1% 20,498 Decrease00.1%
Total: 22.484.652 Increase03,1% 225.608 Increase00,1%

Ground transportation[edit]


Zürich Airport railway station is located underneath the Airport Centre. The station has frequent Zürich S-Bahn services on lines S2 and S16, plus direct InterRegio, InterCity and Eurocity services to Basel, Bern, Biel/Bienne, Brig, Geneva, Konstanz, Lausanne, Lucerne, Munich, Neuchâtel, Romanshorn, St. Gallen and Winterthur. There are some 10 trains per hour to Zürich Hauptbahnhof, Zürich's main city centre station, with a journey time of between 10 and 15 minutes. By changing trains at Hauptbahnhof, most other places in Switzerland can be reached in a few hours.[60]

Bus and tram[edit]

In front of the Airport Centre is the airport stop of the Stadtbahn Glattal, a light rail system that interworks with the Zürich tram system, together with a regional bus station. Both the bus station and light rail stop provide service to destinations throughout the Glattal region that surrounds the airport, with the light rail stop being served by tram routes 10 and 12. Tram route 10 also provides a link to Zurich Hauptbahnhof, albeit with a rather longer journey time than that of the railway.[61]


The airport is served by a fleet of dedicated airport taxis, which operate from taxi ranks in front of the arrival areas. Alternative chauffeur driven airport limousines can be arranged.[62]


The airport is served by the A51 motorway and other main roads, which link to the airports own road network. Drop-off areas are available by the Airport Centre whilst a total of over 1000 spaces are available in six car parks for short and long term parking. A car hire centre is located in the terminal complex.[63][64][65]

Other facilities[edit]

The Circle, a complex intended to include a medical center, a conference center, shops, restaurants, offices and hotels, is under construction opposite the Airport Centre. The complex was designed by Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto, is currently under construction and planned for completion in 2018.[66][67]

Several companies have their headquarters on or about the airport. These include:

Other companies that were formerly based on the airport include:

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Media related to Zurich Airport at Wikimedia Commons