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Aircraft noise dispute goes to highest court

Switzerland is to play its last card in its ongoing dispute with Germany over aircraft noise, by taking its case to Europe’s highest court.

The Swiss have lost successive appeals over a unilateral German decree banning low-altitude night time flights over its airspace, imposed in 2003.

“The government remains convinced that the German decree puts excessive restrictions on the capacity of Zurich airport and discriminates against the airline Swiss,” the transport ministry said in a news release on Wednesday.

Zurich airport, the country’s biggest, is only about 20 kilometres from the German border. It is the home of Swiss International Air Lines.

Last month the General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg upheld a ruling by the European Commission that Germany was acting within its rights in imposing the ban.

Switzerland is basing its appeal on two points: that the German measures are disproportionate, and that they discriminate against Swiss International Air Lines because it has more flights in and out of Zurich than its competitors do.

“It is thus being disadvantaged with regard to its access to European Union airspace,” the release says. “This amounts to indirect discrimination.”


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