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Zurich Airport gets approval from KEVU for runway extensions

Photo of Zurich Airport runway extensions © Flughafen Zürich

Flughafen Zürich has announced the approval from the Commission for Energy, Transport and Environment (KEVU) to extend two runways at Zurich Airport. KEVU thus follows the Governing Council of Zurich which has already approved the project.

The extensions of the runways are an important measure to increase the safety margin at Zurich Airport and to stabilise operations under all weather conditions. This will result in more stable flight operations and a better compliance with the determined operating concepts, leading to fewer delays and a longer night rest. Overall, the runway extensions reduce the total number of people affected by aircraft noise.

The extensions were identified as an essential safety measure in the 2012 “Safety Review of Zurich Airport” report. They have been included by the federal government in the Sectoral Plan for Aviation Infrastructure (SIL). The extensions of the runways offer more braking distance in the event of an aborted take-off or landing. They also reduce the number of intersections on the ground and in the air. Overall, there are no feasible alternative measures that would result in the same benefits, namely an increase of safety and a reduction of delays.

The extensions of the runways do not increase capacity as there is no correlation between runway length and the number of aircraft movements. Regardless of the length of a runway, only one aircraft can take off or land at the same time.  The project does not change the framework conditions that apply to the airport, which are set by the federal government.

No further delay

Minorities request the rejection of the bill and a re-evaluation by the Governing Council. As a matter of fact, this would not change the project itself and would only delay implementation. The bill is ready for decision. The sooner the Cantonal Council and possibly the Zurich electorate approve the bill, the sooner Flughafen Zürich AG will be able to initiate the planning approval procedure at federal level. Eventually, this would allow for a timely implementation of the mentioned improvements. 

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