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Airport history


Since 2000 Flughafen Zürich AG has operated Zurich Airport as a privatised listed company on behalf of the Swiss Confederation.

The following is a chronological overview of the milestones in the history of Zurich airport. 

Slide Flughafengeschichte 3

4

  • 2018

    19.03.2018:
    Groundbreaking ceremony for baggage system expansion project 

    09.07.2018:
    Modal split: The most recent assessment of the modal split shows that, at Zurich Airport, 44 percent of passengers, employees and visitors arrive by public transport. 

    01./02.09.2018:
    The airport experience weekend, coupled with the 70th anniversary of Zurich Airport, attracts around 70,000 visitors. 

    03.09.2018:
    With the application documents for the 2017 operating regulations (BR2017), the revised security zone plan also moves into the public consultation phase. The plan in force currently has been in place since 1978. 

    13.09.2018:
    The new “Golf” stands to the south of the airport become operational. 

    12.11.2018:
    The FOCA presents its proposals for the amendment of the Ordinance on Airport Charges announced in June. Flughafen Zürich AG fiercely opposes any worsening of the terms of the Ordinance.

  • 2017

    01.02.2017:
    The long-serving Chief Financial Officer of Flughafen Zürich AG, Daniel Schmucki, leaves the company and is succeeded by his deputy Lukas Brosi.

    16.03.2017:
    Flughafen Zürich AG wins the concession for the expansion and operation of Hercílio Luz (FLN) international airport in Florianópolis in southern Brazil.

    24.03.2017:
    The foundation stone is laid for the major construction project THE CIRCLE. 

    20.04.2017:
    Josef Felder and Stephan Gemkow are elected to the Board of Directors. Josef Felder served as Chief Executive Officer of Flughafen-Immobilien-Gesellschaft (FIG) from 1998 to 2000 and Chief Executive Officer of Flughafen Zürich AG from 2000 to 2008. 

    27.04.2017:
    A new viewing platform, complete with “Heligrill”, is inaugurated for plane spotters and airport fans on the western side of Zurich Airport. 

    17.05.2017:
    Stefan Tschudin is appointed Chief Operation Officer, taking over from Stefan Conrad following the latter's move to the International Business unit in Rio de Janeiro as Chief Executive Officer Latin America. 

    22.05.2017:
    Flughafen Zürich AG wins the concession for the expansion and operation of Diego Aracena International Airport (IATA: IQQ) in Iquique in the north of Chile.

    27.09.2017:
    In collaboration with the Zurich cantonal police, automated passport control is introduced at local immigration. Renovation of the passport control hall creates space for more passengers and additional border control desks.

    12.10.2017:
    Two new stands for long-haul aircraft become operational in Zone West at Zurich Airport.

  • 2016

    01.02.2016:
    Stefan Gross succeeds Patrick Candrian as new Chief Commercial Officer. 

    01.04.2016:
    Daniel Scheifele takes over as Head of Real Estate.  

    25./26.06.2016 & 10./11.09.2016:
    Zurich Airport organizes two airport experience weekends, with a diverse programme of events for visitors from the general public. Around 30,000 visitors attend. 

    17.07.2016:
    For the first time ever, over 100,000 passengers pass through Airport Zurich in one day. 

    22.07.2016:
    Flughafen Zürich AG starts implementing the south-side sound insulation concept, designed to protect residents in houses to the south of the airport against early morning noise.

    01.09.2016:
    The lower charges requested by Flughafen Zürich AG in September 2015 are implemented with effect from 1 September 2016. 

    27.09.2016:
    The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) puts the draft of the revised detailed plan for the Zurich Airport Sectoral Aviation Infrastructure Plan (SAIP2) through to the consultation phase.

  • 2015

    05.01.2015: Preparatory civil engineering work for THE CIRCLE 

    30.01.2014: Flughafen Zürich AG und Swiss Life Ltd announce that HRS Real Estate Ltd. has been selected as general contractor for the construction of THE CIRCLE. 

    28.04.2015: Official groundbreaking ceremony and start of construction work on THE CIRCLE  

    22.06.2015: Over and above the 240 million for sound insulation and resident protection estimated in the "Programme 2010” sound insulation programme, the Board of Directors approves further measures worth a total of CHF 100 million. 

    01.09.2015: The European Union (EU) requires spot checks with explosives detectors to be carried out on passengers and their hand luggage. 

    28.10.2015: The new check-in desks in the northern section and thus the entire check-in hall become fully operational.

  • 2014

    01.02.2014:
    Since the Aircraft Noise Fund has sufficient funds to cover all anticipated costs (including expropriations due to air traffic noise), the noise supplement is suspended, which leads to lower passenger charges at Zurich Airport. 

    09.03.2014:
    Start of complete refurbishment of the main landing runway 14/32 

    24.03.2014:
    After a construction period spanning several years, the southern part of Terminal 2 becomes fully operational. 

    18.06.2014:
    Inauguration of the new noise protection hangar for engine testing 

    14.10.2014:
    The 2014 application for an amendment of operating regulations (BR2014), formulated on the basis of the detailed plan for Zurich Airport in the Sectoral Aviation Infrastructure Plan (SAIP), goes into public consultation. 

    31.12.2014:
    Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kern steps down after seven years. He is succeeded by Stephan Widrig, member of the Management Board since 2008. Patrick Candrian is appointed new Chief Commercial Officer from the beginning of 2015, taking over from Stephan Widrig

  • 2013

    7.03.2013:
    Council of States approves treaty. A majority of the cantons approves the treaty with Germany. A majority of the National Council also ratifies it on 5 June.

    01.05.2013:
    Flughafen Zürich AG implements new noise charge framework

    26.06.2013:
    SAIP draft sets out spatial planning parameters for Zurich Airport. The Federal Council approves the SAIP draft for Zurich Airport. This decision provides Zurich Airport with its first set of spatial planning principles to follow

    15.11.2013:
    FOCA imposes charges at Zurich Airport.The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) issues a decision setting out airport charges for 2014 to 2017. Overall the charges for passengers will be lower in future.

    22.11.2013:
    Zurich's airport operator wins operating licence for airport in Brazil .As part of a consortium with the Brazilian company CCR and Flughafen München GmbH, Flughafen Zürich AG is awarded the concession for the operation and expansion of Confins International Airport in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

    18.12.2013:
    Funding secured for "The Circle".Flughafen Zürich AG and Swiss Life Ltd. sign a contract to jointly finance this major real estate project.

  • 2012

    19.04.2012:
    Flughafen Zürich AG is granted planning consent for its major project THE CIRCLE

    04.09.2012:
    Treaty signed by the ministers of transport Doris Leuthard and Peter Ramsauer

    01.12. 2012:
    Start of the main construction phase for the Terminal 2 upgrade project

  • 2011

    10.03.2011:
    Zurich is the first airport in Switzerland to introduce a satellite-based approach system. Suitably equipped aircraft can now approach north runway 14 using GPS technology. 

    27.11.2011:
    Resounding „No“ to the block on further development of the airport with the rejection of the municipalities' Initiative II and its counterproposal

    01.12.2011:
    Opening of the new Dock B, the centralised security check building and the observation deck

  • 2010

    11.02.2010:
    The architectural competition for THE CIRCLE is won by the Japanese architectural firm Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop against more than 90 top-class entries from twelve countries. 

    12.03.2010: 
    Flughafen Zürich AG adopts a climate protection policy with the aim of gradually reducing CO2 emissions. It sets a target of reducing CO2 emissions at Zurich Airport by 15,000 tonnes to a total of 20,000 tonnes by 2030.

    19.03.2010:
    he Federal Office of Civil Aviation certifies Zurich Airport for the Airbus A380. The way is now clear for the largest passenger jet in the world to be used on regular scheduled routes from and to Zurich. On 28 March, Singapore Airlines commences a daily Airbus A380 service on its Zurich-Singapore route.

    01.04.2010:
    The airport operator is using solely the brand «Zurich Airport». The brand name “Unique” is discontinued.

    17.04.2010-20.04.2010:
    As a result of the volcanic eruption in Iceland, Swiss air space remains closed for three days. 

    29.07.2010:
    The curfew for night flights at Zurich Airport is extended. The night-time curfew is now in effect from 11:30 p.m., including a half-hour allowance for delays, until 06:00 a.m. 

    22.09.2010:
    The solar plane Solar Impulse lands at Zurich Airport. It was the first landing of a solar-powered aircraft at the airport. 

    22.12.2010:
    With the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruling of 22 December 2010, Zurich Airport's operating regulations are enshrined in law. The Swiss Federal Supreme Court’s decision places current flight operations on a solid legal foundation with established routes for departure and arrival.

  • 2009

    24.02.2009:
    Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) launches the development of THE CIRCLE 

    29.03.2009:
    Schengen procedures are successfully implemented at Zurich Airport. During the night of 29 March, the separation of the Schengen and non-Schengen areas was completed 

    27.09.2009:
    The decisive rejection of the „fair flight initiative“ is renewed testimony of Zurich citizens' support for Zurich Airport. Following their rejection of the November 2007 initiative to restrict flight movements, the voters once again declared their support for an efficient airport.

  • 2008

    5./06.09.2008:
    Zurich Airport holds a party for all its employees to celebrate its 60th anniversary. A commemorative volume, „Flughafen Zürich 1948–2008“, chronicles the history of the airport 

    20.10.2008:
    The renovation of runway 16/34 is successfully completed. 

    24.10.2008:
    A variety of new facilities commence operation as a result of the alterations required by the introduction of the Schengen Agreement: : the new arrivals hall, the renovated „Grüezi B“ bus arrival area and the corridor connecting them, plus the new bus gates B01 to B10, with tax and duty-free shop and Bar 110. 

    12.12.2008:
    Opening ceremony and launch of the new Glatt valley tram service between central Zurich and the airport.

  • 2007

    18.10.2007:
    The operating licence for El Tepual airport in Puerto Montt (Chile) held by Flughafen Zürich AG/Gestión e Ingeniería IDC S.A. is extended for a further 15 years by Chile's Ministry for Public Buildings.

    23.11.2007:
    Announcement of the appointment of Thomas E. Kern to replace Josef Felder as CEO. At the same time, it is announced that CFO Beat Spalinger is to leave the company after the 2008 General Meeting. His replacement is Daniel Schmucki, former Head of Controlling Treasury & Investor Relations.

    25.11.2007:
    63% of the Zurich electorate rejects the initiative calling for restrictions on flight movements. The ZFI+ counterproposal calling for a noise index was accepted by 63% of the voters.

    14.12.2007:
    Conclusion of a joint venture agreement with Brazilian group Camargo Corrêa and the Chilean Gestión e Ingeniería IDC S.A. for the construction and operation of airports and airside infrastructure in Latin America.

  • 2006

    18.08.2006:
    The foiled terrorist attacks in London result in more stringent security regulations at Zurich Airport (ban on liquids in hand luggage).

    28.10.2006:
    In line with the modified approach procedure, the instrument landing system for runway 28 (approaches from the east) comes into operation.

    06.11.2006:
    Introduction of new regulations governing the carrying of liquids in hand luggage on flights from Switzerland.

  • 2005

    20.01.2005:
    Contracts for a 100-million government loan and development rights for a new airport in Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), India are signed. Unique holds a 17% stake in this project.

    03.03.2005:
    Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) submits the safety assessment requested by FOCA in relation to the „segmented northern approach route“, the application for which had already been submitted on 31 December 2004.

    29.03.2005:
    The Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) approves the provisional operating regulations submitted by Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) on 31 December 2003 with some restrictions. Unique appeals against certain stipulations.

    27.11.2005:
    The Swiss electorate votes „No“ to the abolition of Sunday trading. In the run-up to this referendum, Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) had vigorously campaigned in favour of retaining Sunday opening.

  • 2000 - 2004

    01.03.2000:
    Airport Act comes into force

    10.03.2000:
    Groundbreaking ceremony for the 5th expansion stage in the presence of Government Council member Dr. Ruedi Jeker and Chairman of FIG's Board of Directors Ulrich Bremi.

    30.03.2000: 
    Completion of merger between Flughafendirektion (Zurich Airport Authority) and Flughafen Immobiliengesellschaft (Airport Real Estate Company, FIG) to form Flughafen Zürich AG. Final General Meeting of FIG.

    06.04.2000:
    Launch of the new airport company under the name Unique

    12.04.2000:
    The Federal Council stipulates noise limits for national airports for the first time.

    17.04.2000:
    Unique shares are listed in the main segment of the Swiss Exchange

    22.05.2000:
    Germany announces the termination of the administrative agreement governing flights approaching Zurich Airport over southern German territory from the end of May 2001.

    23.05.2000:
    Inauguration of the expanded Fracht Ost cargo handling complex

    18.10.2000:
    The Federal Council approves the Sectoral Aviation Infrastructure Plan (SAIP). The role of Zurich as an intercontinental hub for Switzerland is expressly affirmed.

    06.11.2000:
    Public offering of 1.3 million registered shares of Flughafen Zürich AG from the capital share of the Canton of Zurich

    15.12.2000:
    The application to transfer the new airport operating licence from 1 June 2001 is passed by the Board of Directors and submitted to the federal government.

    23.04.2001:
    The transport ministers of Germany and Switzerland agree the key points of a treaty concerning flight approaches to Zurich Airport

    03.05.2001:
    First General Meeting of Shareholders of Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG)

    01.06.2001:
    New operating licence for airport operator Unique comes into force

    11.09.2001: 
    Terror attack in the US with four captured airplanes, temporary recline in worldwide air traffic

    02.10.2001:
    Grounding of Swissair fleet

    18.03.2003:
    The Council of States rejects ratification of the treaty between Switzerland and Germany

    01.09.2003:
    Dock E and northern section of airport now operational

    01.10.2003:
    Car park 3 with 2,700 spaces becomes fully operational

    31.12.2003:
    Submission of provisional operating regulations

    29.07.2004: 
    The 3rd phase of the Airport Center opens

    10-12.09.2004: 
    Three days of special events: around 270,000 visitors experience the exciting new-look airport

    15.09.2004:
    Official opening of the new Airside Center with 60 commercial units. This completes the 5th expansion stage

    15.09.2004:
    The new bus terminal opens

    28.10.2004:
    The instrument landing system on runway 34 commences operation

    31.10.2004:
    More stringent restrictions (relating to minimum weather conditions) come into effect for flight approaches over Germany

    13.11.2004:
    First national demonstration against aircraft noise at the Bundesplatz in Berne is attended by around 2,500 protesters

    10.12.2004:
    Recertification of environmental management system in accordance with ISO 14001.

    13.12.2004:
    The Federal Council passes the revised version of its 2004 report on Swiss civil aviation policy to the Federal Assembly

    31.12.2004:
    Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) submits an application to the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) to amend its operating regulations to allow the introduction of a „segmented northern approach route“ with visual final approach

  • 1951 - 1999

    08.04.1953:
    Move into new passenger terminal

    29.08.1953:
    Airport opening ceremony and major air show

    29.02.1956:
    Submission of project for 2nd expansion stage

    23.06.1957:
    Proposed credit of CHF 74.3 million for 2nd expansion stage is rejected

    06.07.1958:
    Amended proposed credit facility of CHF 48 million is approved

    15.03.1961:
    Extended runway for blind landings enters service

    18.02.1969:
    Attack on El Al Boeing 720

    27.09.1970:
    Zurich voters approve credit facility of CHF 172 million for 3rd expansion stage

    30.01.1971:
    Construction of Terminal B commences

    01.04.1971:
    Completion of 2nd expansion stage: south wing of terminal A

    01.11.1972:
    Regulations governing night-time curfew enter into force

    01.12.1972:
    Opening of car park F with 1,882 parking spaces

    01.03.1973:
    Swissair takes over Hangar III

    20.06.1974:
    Introduction of new approach routes to reduce disturbance from aircraft noise

    01.11.1975:
    Opening of Terminal B with dock and car park B

    07.12.1975:
    Zurich Electorate approves CHF 25.8 million credit facility for renovating runway 16

    01.01.1976:
    Opening of runway 14/32, subsequent renovation of runway 16

    02.03.1978:
    Underground refuelling system at Terminal B enters service

    01.06.1980:
    Opening of SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) train service to the airport

    28.09.1980:
    Referendum approves CHF 48 million credit facility for civil engineering works

    01.11.1980:
    Introduction of noise charges

    30.09.1982:
    Construction of Terminal A buildings begins

    17.09.1984:
    Treaty governing landings and take-offs via German airspace

    24.09.1984:
    Opening of car park A with 2,160 spaces

    01.11.1985:
    Dock A opens

    17.04.1986:
    Inauguration of new control tower

    06.09.1987:
    Rejection of proposed CHF 57 million credit facility for the expansion of cargo facilities

    25.04.1991:
    Presentation of first environmental report

    01.11.1993:
    New noise charge framework, new categorisations, higher charges

    25.06.1995:
    Referendum approves credit facility of CHF 873 million for 5th expansion stage

    05.02.1997:
    DETEC grants framework concession for 5th expansion stage

    23.08.1998: 
    Major celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the airport

    12.07.1999:
    The Zurich Cantonal Council approves the privatisation of Zurich Airport by 99 to 68 votes (60:40%).

    08.11.1999:
    DETEC grants building permit for midfield dock

    28.11.1999:
    Referendum ratifies the privatisation of Zurich Airport

  • 1945-1950

    22.06.1945:
    A federal decree declares that Zurich is to be the location for an intercontinental airport

    20.12.1945:
    The federal government sells 655 hectares of the military grounds at Kloten to the Canton of Zurich

    05.05.1946: 
    Referendum approves building loan of CHF 36.8 million

    01.07.1946: 
    Construction of the airport commences

    14.06.1948:
    First take-offs and landings on west runway

    27.10.1948:
    Founding of Flughafen Immobiliengesellschaft (Airport Real Estate Company)

    17.11.1948:
    Runway for blind landings opens for operation

    07.05.1950:
    The electorate approves a supplementary credit facility of CHF 18.6 million

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