Home » Zurich Airport share friendly: Canton of Zurich says yes to runway extension | 03/04/24

Zurich Airport share friendly: Canton of Zurich says yes to runway extension | 03/04/24

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Zurich Airport share friendly: Canton of Zurich says yes to runway extension |  03/04/24

They also rejected a continuous riverside path on Lake Zurich and the “anti-chaotic initiative”. They accepted the counterproposal to the initiative.

324,234 voters voted for the slope extensions, while 201,198 voted against it. The voter turnout was 57.56 percent. Flughafen Zürich AG can therefore extend runway 28 by 400 meters to the west and runway 32 by 280 meters to the north. The airport itself bears the costs of 250 million francs. This is the first adjustment to the piste system in 50 years.

According to the airport, the aim is to increase security and improve punctuality. This also ensures less aircraft noise in the evening hours. The airport was primarily supported by bourgeois parties. The Zurich government council and the cantonal council were also in favor.

Opponents find “airport big enough”

Opponents of aircraft noise and left-wing parties criticized the fact that this would enable an increase in capacity in the long term. More flights led to more noise and even more emissions. They think the “highly frequented and excellently connected airport” is already big enough.

The airport proposal is considered the vote of the year in the canton of Zurich. The discussion in advance was correspondingly loud. Opponents of the slope expansion even demanded that the voting newspaper not be delivered – their arguments were changed and shortened by the government council.

“The people of Zurich support our state airport. And it should be reliable,” said government councilor Carmen Walker Späh (FDP). It is also a confirmation of the government council’s airport policy.

Yes to the counterproposal

The SVP’s “anti-chaotic initiative” failed at the ballot box. Only 205,360 eligible voters accepted it. 297,635 rejected the initiative, almost 60 percent. The cantonal council’s more moderate counter-proposal, however, was accepted with 63.8 percent.

Demonstrations should therefore always require approval in the future. Costs for police operations and damage to property can be transferred. However, the organizers would only be asked to pay if those responsible acted intentionally. This is in contrast to the initiative, which called for costs to be passed on in every case.

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Uferweg had no chance

The initiative for a continuous riverside path on Lake Zurich had no chance. 339,540 no votes compared to only 190,752 yes votes. The voter turnout was 57.8 percent. The waterfront initiative wanted to oblige the canton to create continuous public waterfront paths on Lake Zurich and other bodies of water in the canton.

The proponents argued that freely accessible waters and natural riverside paths had a unique appeal. Their importance is increasing in view of population growth and building density.

According to opponents, the construction of a lakeside path along Lake Zurich would only be possible with a “massive encroachment on private property”. The costs of 350 to 650 million francs – a large part for land acquisition and compensation – are disproportionate.

The non-controversial fourth cantonal proposal, which changed the requirements for election to the cantonal courts, was accepted without any problems. Almost 90 percent voted for it.

Zurich Airport boss: “We are pleased with the clear approval”

“We are pleased about the clear approval of the important safety project of runway extensions,” said airport boss Lukas Brosi in a statement on Sunday afternoon.

In the run-up to the vote, Brosi had many discussions with the population. “Even after the vote, dialogue with all stakeholders is and remains important,” he continued. For example, the airport is working on making operations more robust.

After the “yes” vote at the ballot box, Zurich Airport will now prepare an application based on the submission. It will probably take several years for the plan to be legally approved by the federal government. According to current knowledge, construction of the airport is expected to begin in 2030. As is well known, the costs of around 250 million francs will be borne entirely by the airport.

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Government is happy about slope extensions – Young Greens are examining the initiative

On Sunday, the Zurich government council was “very pleased” with the decision to extend the slopes. For the first time in fifty years, the complex piste system can be easily adapted, said Economics Director Carmen Walker Späh (FDP).

“The people of Zurich support our state airport. And it should be reliable,” said Walker Späh. It is also a confirmation of the government council’s airport policy.

The airport will now prepare a planning approval application. Then the ball is in the federal court’s court. But it will still be years before the excavators arrive. Walker Späh expects the planning and construction phase to take around ten years.

FDP: “False arguments from opponents”

Her party, the FDP, was unsurprisingly also happy. The population has clearly spoken out in favor of reliable and punctual flight operations. The opponents’ “false arguments”, i.e. that this would increase capacity, were obviously not successful. The FDP expects that opponents will respect the decision and refrain from legal interference.

The SVP also reacted happily. “The population can not only look forward to more security, but also to more punctual flights and more sleep at night,” cantonal councilor Ueli Bamert was quoted as saying in a statement.

SP: “Don’t abuse it to expand capacity”

The SP reacted with disappointment. The yes to the runway expansion was a vote of confidence in Zurich Airport, she said. Those responsible must do justice to this.

“Punctuality must now increase and the night’s rest must finally be better observed,” co-president Priska Seiler Graf is quoted in the statement. The extended runways should not be misused to expand capacity.

The SP will continue to “critically monitor” developments at the airport and will work to ensure compliance with noise limits and peace of mind at night.

Young Greens examine “limitation initiative”

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The Young Greens want to prevent capacity at the airport from being expanded – despite promises to the contrary. According to the announcement, they are considering launching a “limitation initiative,” which would write an upper limit on flight movements into law.

Actually, according to the Young Greens, “a massive reduction in flight movements would be necessary”. This is also a variant that they would now examine.

GLP calls for “confidence-building measures”

The Green Liberals, who decided to release votes, “take note” of the result. Vice President Jörg Mäder is quoted as saying that they are still convinced that the path to climate neutrality can only be taken together with business.

This requires confidence-building measures from business and the airport. According to the GLP, this includes clear adherence to night-time rest and a rapid switch to sustainable aviation fuel.

The center reacted “with relief,” as she announced. The expansion of the slopes brings many advantages, more safety, stability and punctuality. In this way, Zurich as a business location remains strong and internationally competitive.

The EPP, which represented the no slogan, now insists that the promised reduction in delays also takes place in the evening hours and that exceptions are approved more cautiously. In this way, the noise-affected residents in the east could be better protected.

The AL, in turn, reacted with disappointment. The expansion of the slopes is unnecessary. The airport’s increases in capacity and profits at the expense of the population must come to an end. It is all the more important to now support the popular initiative to maintain the night’s quiet from 11 p.m. Signatures are currently being collected for this initiative.

On the SIX, Zurich Airport shares ultimately rose by 0.80 percent to 188.80 Swiss francs.

Zürich (awp/sda)

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