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Air traffic One in three Swiss flights delayed

Swiss Airline plane at take-off from Zurich

One in four Swiss Airline flights were delayed by about 15 minutes over the summer months.


The Swiss International Airlines is among the worst victims of a shortage of air traffic controllers in Europe.

About 34% of all Swiss flights are delayed because of issues with air navigation safety or at the airport, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reports quoting data from Eurocontrol.external link

Only two other airlines reported slightly higher percentages from June to the end of August.

Swiss International Airlines and the Swiss air traffic controller, Skyguide, have blamed the increasing air traffic and the strategic position of Zurich airport as a hub on the European continent.

But they also point out a broader dimension.

“The infrastructure of the European airports can’t keep up with the growing aviation industry,” a Swiss International Airlines spokeswoman is quoted as saying.

The company reportedly also criticises the “complex management system” at Zurich airport, notably in case of weather-related problems.

Strong northerly winds reduce the number of take-offs and landings per hour by about a third, an airport official confirms.

However, chances of the overall situation improving any time soon are limited.

Delays will occur again and again as long as a shortage of air traffic controllers in Europe persists, according to the Zurich airport official. But the operators of Switzerland’s main airport say they hope to open new taxiways next year to speed up take-offs.

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