Voters in Switzerland have approved a Swfr250 million ($283 million) plan to extend two runways at Zurich airport, the country’s busiest, which will allow more types of aircraft to use all three runways, increasing safety, and streamlining operations.

Just under 62% of eligible voters in the canton of Zurich on 3 March favoured the plan, which had been put forward by the Zurich cantonal government in 2021.

“We are pleased about the clear approval of the important safety project to extend the runways,” Zurich airport chief executive Lukas Brosi, says. “We would like to thank the Zurich electorate for their trust and for their votes for a safe and stable Zurich Airport – also in the future.”


Source: Zurich Airport

Voters in Switzerland have approved a plan that would extend two of Zurich airport’s three runways

Zurich airport has three runways of different lengths. The longest, 16-34, is 3,700m (12,139ft), and primarily used for heavy long-haul aircraft departures. That runway crosses 10-28, which is 2,500m long and accommodates most short-haul and regional aircraft.

The third runway, 14-32 is 3,300m and often used for long-haul landings.

“Depending on the time of day, weather conditions and size of the aircraft, they must be used in different ways,” Zurich airport says on its website. “With the adapted runways, unplanned runway changes and safety-related crossings on the ground and in the air can be significantly reduced.”

The plan calls for runway 14-32 to be lengthened by 280m toward the north, and runway 10-28 by 400m toward the west.

The lengthening of runways 28 and 32 “will enable more stable operations in all weather conditions and for all aircraft types and will ensure an increase in safety margins”, the airport adds. The runway extensions will allow larger aircraft to land on runway 28 in the evening in more demanding weather conditions, and more heavy long-haul aircraft will be able to take off on runway 32.

The airport will now begin working on an application for construction, which is expected to take several years. Construction of the runway extensions is tentatively set to begin in 2030.

Zurich airport will carry the entire Swfr250 million cost itself.