Swiss and Germans resolve Zurich airport row

Switzerland and Germany have ended a long-running row over Zurich airport noise with Bern agreeing to cut back on overall air traffic.

This content was published on January 28, 2012 and agencies

Flights over southern Germany heading to and from Zurich airport will be affected. In return the airport will be able to increase its capacity at certain times of the day. Air traffic could go up again in the future should technological advances reduce aircraft noise.

A declaration of intent had been signed by the two countries, Transport Minister Doris Leuthard announced at a press conference with her German counterpart Peter Ramsauer on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Saturday.

“Switzerland will reduce its traffic. We do not yet have the exact figures,” Leuthard said adding that both countries had to make concessions.


The agreement will be formalised in an accord that is due to be signed in the summer.

The airport’s flight path is 20 miles from the German border. The row is decades old but stepped up in 2003 when Germany moved to unilaterally restrict the number of flights over its territory and enforce a total ban on night landings and take offs. Planes were forced to fly instead over the densely populated areas south and east of Zurich.
The Swiss lost successive appeals over the German decree and in 2010 took the dispute to the European Court of Justice, which found that German measures were “proportionate”.

A German-Swiss working group has been looking at options since 2009.

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