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Zurich-Kloten Switzerland’s biggest airport turns 70

It’s exactly 70 years since the first flight took off from the brand new tarmac of Zurich Airport. We take a look back at the development of what has since become the biggest airport in Switzerland.

On June 14, 1948, a ceremony took place at Zurich-Kloten airport, with speeches made on the tarmac in front of a "Swiss Air Lines"-branded plane. The reason? The official opening of the airport’s first runway, a 1,900-metre long track that had taken two years to build.

And though it was a modestly sized airport at the time of construction, Zurich was progressively expanded over the next decades. Now it is the biggest in the country, far outstripping nearest rival Geneva.

The figures speak for themselves: last month, 2.71 million passengers passed through the airport (about two million who were landing or taking off from Zurich, the rest in transit). In the same month, the airport registered 24,463 flights and processed over 40,000 tonnes of merchandise.