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Zurich airport plans runway upgrades

Zurich airport wants to extend runways 28 (left) and 32 (above). It will not only need the green light from cantonal but also the national authorities for the project. Keystone/Ralph Bensberg

The operators of Switzerland’s main airport, in Zurich, have presented plans to extend two runways, re-igniting a controversy over noise pollution.

This content was published on June 3, 2021 - 14:39
swissinfo.ch with Keystone-SDA/ug

Zurich airportExternal link says extending two runways would increase safety and simplify landing and take-off traffic.

Airport CEO Stephan Widrig described the upgrade as a step towards stablising operations. He rejected allegations that it was meant to increase capacities.

The financial investment for the project is estimated at CHF250 million ($278 million). Construction work is not expected to be launched before 2030.

The Zurich cantonal government has approved the upgrade in principle, but the cantonal parliament is still to debate the issue and voters are also likely to have a say.

Criticism

Opponents, including the Fair in Air groupExternal link and the Green Party, have dismissed the plans as “megalomaniac” and outdated in times of climate change.

In January, the airport operators decided to postpone building a new terminal and froze investments.

Three months previously, it opened a flagship conferencing, leisure and retail complex close to the airport.

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