EU court silences Swiss flights complaint

Last year more than 96,000 inbound flights to Zurich used German airspace Keystone

A European Union court has ruled against Switzerland in a long-standing dispute with Germany over flight noise from Zurich airport.

This content was published on September 9, 2010 minutes and agencies

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg announced on Thursday it had rejected a request by the Swiss government to repeal a 2003 decision by the European Commission.

The commission had backed Germany’s move to impose restrictions on inbound and night flights to Zurich after complaints from residents in nearby southern Germany.

Switzerland’s main airport is only about 20km from the German border.

Swiss Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger said he was not surprised by the court ruling and that experts would decide whether to appeal.

“I’ve always expected such a court ruling,” Leuenberger said.

It is still possible to find a reasonable solution within a short time, he added.

The EU welcomed the court ruling as “good news for German citizens who want to get a good night’s sleep.”

Switzerland argued the German restrictions were disproportional and discriminated against Swiss International Air Lines.

The dispute over flight noise has strained relations with Germany for more than 25 years. The Swiss parliament rejected a government-backed deal with Berlin seven years ago.

Urs Geiser, and agencies

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