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WEF19 security Davos’s main runway, Zurich

This time around, Trump, May and Macron will not transfer at Zurich’s main airport on their way to the World Economic Forum in Davos. For those in charge of security, these cancellations are by no means a respite. Here’s a look behind the scenes in the WEF control room at Zurich Airport, and at how motorcades are checked before accessing the runway.  

As Zurich Cantonal Police Chief Thomas Würgler said at a media conference on Monday, “WEF might be in Davos, but it starts in Zurich”.

Airport operator, Flughafen Zurich AG, expects around 130 extra aircraft movements per day compared to an average day. About 110 guests protected by international law, such as four members of royalty and 19 presidents, are expected among the numerous representatives of foreign governments and international organizations.

The World Economic Forum is a major undertaking for the Swiss police corps, also outside Canton Graubünden, where the forum takes place. There too, as in previous years, the Zurich Cantonal Police also play a key role. 

Like most cantonal police corps, Zurich’s cantonal police and large urban police corps provide numerous forces to support the Graubünden cantonal police in Davos as part of the interactional police mission. 

In addition, canton Zurich’s police are primarily concerned with the entry and transfer of WEF guests travelling from Zurich Airport to the World Economic Forum. When accompanying the convoys to Davos, the cantonal police are also supported by the Zurich City Police.

Once they land in Zurich, WEF guests make the approximately 160km journey to Davos either by motorcade or by helicopter, depending on availability and weather conditions.

Last year, Zurich Cantonal Police employees worked some 20,000 hours to ensure WEF-related the safety. On the two peak days, 400 of Zurich’s cantonal police officers were deployed exclusively or primarily for WEF. This figure was greatly influenced by the arrival, escort and departure of the American president. According to current planning, it is therefore unlikely that this year’s peak days will reach similar levels.

Davos in relationship to Zurich.


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