Zurich airport has decided to extend a ban on night flights by two hours in a bid to address local complaints about noise pollution. The proposal comes shortly after the government laid down new limits on noise levels.This content was published on June 13, 2001 - 11:27
The change, which must be approved by the Swiss aviation authorities, would mean a ban on all flights between 2300 and 0600, although delayed flights could still take off until 2330. Currently, the flight ban runs from 2400 to 0500.
The company running the airport, Unique, said the new schedule would give Zurich one of the most stringent flight bans in Europe. The airport's management has been strongly opposed to the extension of the ban but has been left with little choice after the government's decision.
Unique said on Wednesday that the change would require more liberal rules on the use of its runways to ensure the smooth running of the airport.
Analysts say the extension of the night flight ban would be another severe setback for the newly privatised airport, which is undergoing a huge expansion programme to strengthen its position as a major European hub.
It follows the renegotiation of a treaty between the Swiss and German governments which cuts by a third the number of Zurich flights allowed to cross southern Germany.
This new agreement along with the extension of the ban on night flights is set to increase traffic over populated areas to the south, east and west of Zurich airport.
The airport's expansion programme is costing SFr2.6 billion ($1.5 billion) and is aimed at creating more capacity for airplanes, passengers and stores.
The heart of the modernisation is the Dock Midfield, a new terminal slated to open at the end of next year.
The airport's management say they aim to cater for 34 million passengers a year by 2010, up from the current level of 23 million.
swissinfo with agencies