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Authorities seek to eliminate airport delays

The Swiss authorities are taking measures to improve punctuality at Switzerland's airports. The four main organisations concerned have put aside their disputes about who is to blame for the delays and joined forces to tackle the problem.

This content was published on February 29, 2000 - 17:06

The Swiss authorities are taking measures to improve punctuality at Switzerland's airports. The four main organisations concerned have put aside their disputes about who is to blame for the delays and joined forces to tackle the problem.

The Federal Aviation Office, the national airline, Swissair, the Air Force, and Swisscontrol, the autonomous air traffic control company, have together set up Salt, the Swiss Airspace Leadership Team.

Salt aims to increase the capacity in Switzerland's airspace and simplify arrival and departure routes near airports. These measures follow the widening of airways over Switzerland last year, at the expense of military airspace.

Swissair expects a rapid 20-30 per cent improvement in punctuality. But all the partners in Salt realise it is a European problem, which Switzerland can only influence by getting its own house in order.

The authorities are keen to introduce changes before an increase in traffic this summer, at the height of the holiday season. There were fears of even greater chaos if the punctuality problem was not addressed promptly.

Over the past two years, the situation has worsened to the extent that Zurich is now, together with Brussels, one of the most delay-fraught airports in Europe.

Swissair, the main operator into and out of Zurich Kloten airport, says it is losing SFr100 million annually because of delays caused by air traffic control.

Switzerland's airspace is probably the most densely-used in Europe. Key north-south and east-west European air corridors cross the country, and Swiss airports have been growing at well above the world average of six per cent annually.

From staff and wire reports

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