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Rechtliche Grundlagen

Entitlement to compensation

In a number of different rulings. the Swiss Federal Supreme Court has dealt with fundamental issues relating to the entitlement to compensation for properties affected by aircraft noise in the vicinity of Zurich Airport.

The legal basis for noise-related expropriation is taken from the Federal Act on Compulsory Purchase. In line with the current ruling by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, an entitlement to compensation for properties affected by excessive aircraft noise exists in principle if all of the following criteria are met:


The aircraft noise must be excessive. This is the case, according to the current ruling, if noise emission levels as set out in Annex 5 of the Swiss Federal Noise Abatement Ordinance (Table Exposure Limit Values for Noise from Civil Aerodromes) are exceeded. The document entitled ‘Overview map of noise emission levels 2012’ shows the areas in which the noise emission levels were exceeded in 2012.


The increase in aircraft noise was impossible to predict at the time the property was purchased. This condition is satisfied under case law if a property was purchased before 1 January 1961.

Severity of the damage

A considerable level of damage must have occurred, i.e. it must have reached a certain level.

Statute of limitations

A five-year limitation period applies. As a rule, the limitation period begins when all three conditions for compensation are met.

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Direkter Überflug

Unabhängig von den Kriterien für eine Immissionsenteignung kann eine Entschädigung geschuldet sein, wenn ein Grundstück regelmässig (durch landende Flugzeuge) in geringer Höhe direkt überflogen wird. Ein Anspruch auf Entschädigung infolge eines direkten Überflugs besteht jedoch nur unter strengen Voraussetzungen in unmittelbarer Nähe der Landepisten.