This month, we will be introducing you to Flughafen Zürich (IATA: ZRH, ICAO: LSZH), the largest international airport in Switzerland.
Zurich Airport has earned the prestigious “World Travel Award” in the category of “Europe’s Leading Airport” for sixteen times in a row, between the years 2004 and 2019. It is currently a prominent nominee to receive the award as well for the year 2020.
Zurich Airport earned a spot in Skytrax’s top 10 list of best airports in the world according to millions of travelers in the year 2019!
Zurich airport is located 13 km to the north of central Zurich, in the municipalities of Kloten, Rumlang, Oberglatt, Winkel and Opfikon. With its surface transport links, it serves not only Zurich and its canton, but the rest of the country as well.
Zurich airport operates as a hub for Edelweiss Air. It is the principal hub for Swiss International Airlines. It also acts as a focus city for Germania Flug and Helvetic Airways.
In 2019, Zurich Airport handled 31’538’236 passengers and 275’396 aircrafts.
The busiest routes from Zurich Airport are London, Berlin, Vienna, New York, Singapore, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam and Dubai.
To maintain its competitiveness and excellent reputation, Zurich Airport invests around CHF 1 million daily in the maintenance and continuous development of its existing infrastructure.
Zurich airport has three terminals, A, B and E, all linked to the Airside Center building built in 2003. A groundside terminal complex called the Airport Center is located adjacent to the Airside center. The Airport Center includes multiple buildings, a shopping mall, airline check-in areas, a railway station, car parks, and a bus and tram terminal. All departing travelers access the same departure level of the Airside Center through airport security. On the way to the gate lounges, departing passengers are segregated between passengers for Schengen and non-Schengen destinations. Passengers for non-Schengen destinations first pass through immigration controls.
Terminal A, containing gates prefixed A, takes the form of a finger pier attached directly to the Airside Center at one end. It is used is used only for flights to and from destinations inside the Schengen area, including domestic flights within the country. From 2021, terminal A will be demolished and replaced by a new facility.
Terminal B, containing gates prefixed B and D, also takes the shape of a finger pier attached to the Airside Center at one end. It can accommodate both Schengen and non-Schengen flights at the same gate. Each gate has two numbers, one prefixed B and the other prefixed D, to separate passengers to Schengen and non-Schengen destinations.
Terminal E, also known as the midfield terminal or Dock E, contains gates prefixed E. It is a standalone satellite terminal located between runways 16/34 and 14/32, opposite to the runway 10/28. The Skymetro, an automated underground people mover, connects it to the Airside Center. It accommodates only non-Schengen international flights.
In total, Zurich Airport offers 104 gates, half of which are dedicated to Schengen operations, and the other half dedicated to non-Schengen operations. A further 23 gates provide mixed Schengen and non-Schengen operations. 64 of the gates lead to pier stands, while 40 gates provide open-stand access through bus. Only one non-Schengen gate offers double deck boarding for code F airplanes now.
Zurich airport gives utmost importance to operational practicality and passenger convenience. The compact design of the terminals and the upgraded bag sorting system at the airport decreases connecting time to around 40 minutes only. The check-in areas are located near drop-off lanes, car parks and ground transportation services: bus, train, taxi and tram. A combination of conventional check-in desks, check-in kiosks and automated bag drops is available.
Zurich Airport has three concrete runways. Runway 16/34 is 3’700 m long, Runway 14/32 is 3’300 m long, and Runway 10/28 is 2’500 m long.
For most of the day and most conditions, Runway 16/34 and Runway 10/28 are used for takeoffs, and Runway 14/32 is used for landings. In the early mornings and in the evenings, different patterns are used.
Notably, the airport maneuvering areas are designed to suit all aircraft size categories. Between the months of November and May, de-icing pads efficiently located close to the runways provide de-icing services to the aircrafts to ensure minimal delays.
Cargo handling at Zurich Airport is quite efficient and smooth. The size of the airport is convenient for airfreight handling: small enough to assure short cut-off, transfer and delivery times, yet large enough to process large volumes of cargo rapidly and efficiently even in peak times. Zurich airport also offers appropriate infrastructure to safeguard perishable and valued goods. Around 500’000 tons of airfreight and mail are handled at Zurich Airport each year.
Several companies have their headquarters on or around the airport. Ex. Swiss International Airlines, Swiss World Cargo, Swiss Aviation Training…
The airport offers numerous shopping and dining opportunities. The landside Airport Center is one of the largest and most popular shopping centers in the country. The Airside Center, with inspiring architecture and attractive ambience, includes numerous airside shops, bars, restaurants and cafes where passengers can bridge time between flights. A duty-free pre-ordering service is also available for exceptional convenience, with pick-up points on arrival, transfer and departure.
The airport provides car rental services and transportation access. It also provides ATM, currency exchange, banking, and lost property services. Other convenient airport services include a hotel, airline lounges, a fitness center and spa, and hairdressers. The Service Center at the airport provides information services for visitors and passengers requiring additional or tourist information (switzerlandinfo+) at information desks. The service center also offers bag storage, hotel bookings and can assist it buying train tickets. A VIP service is also available.
Managed by Hyatt Regency, The Circle is a modern multidimensional complex at Zurich Airport scheduled to open this September 2020. Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto designed the Circle, located in close proximity to the airport terminals. It offers a wide variety of services: high-end shopping and dining concepts, corporate office space, the University Hospital of Zurich, a Hyatt Regency Hotel, in addition to over 3’000 m2 of event space. It also has direct access to The Park, which covers over 80’000 m2 of greenery!
That’s about all for now!
What airport do you want us to discuss next month? Drop your suggestions in the comment box below!