Switzerland’s largest international airport, Zurich Airport (IATA: ZRH, ICAO: LSZH), is the principal hub for Swiss International Air Lines. Besides Zurich, it provides surface transportation links to much of the rest of Switzerland. Zurich Airport is not only an important transport hub, but also an important economic driver as well.
Switzerland benefits indirectly from Zurich Airport in several ways, enhancing its attractiveness as a business and tourist destination. Due to 77 airlines’ direct connections, Switzerland is home to one of the world’s largest business hubs, the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF), which is home to government lobby groups for tourism and export sectors.
The World Economic Forum brings together heads of state and business leaders from around the world every year. During this high-profile, high-traffic event, business aviation traffic increases significantly, causing congestion and service limitations that require detailed planning well in advance.
Davos Private Jet Airport
General aviation operators most commonly fly into Zurich for Davos short-notice operations. There are fixed base operators (FBOs) and full ground handling operation for general aviation at this airport of entry (AOE). It operates from 0600 to 2200 local time. Three runways are available: 16/34 which is 3,700 meters long (12,100 feet), 14/32 which is 3,300 meters long (10,800 feet), and 10/28 which is 2,500 meters long (8200 feet). Runways 16 and 28 are mostly used for takeoffs during the day and under most conditions.
Applicants should file applications as soon as they know the schedule in order to ensure there are slots available at the airport. During busy periods and peak congestion, it is possible that you will not be able to get your desired slot time.
Zurich Airport Terminals
It consists of three airside piers, named airport terminals A, B, and E.
In addition to flights within Switzerland, it serves only flights within the Schengen Area. It was planned to tear down Terminal A and replace it with another facility from 2021 onwards. Despite this, the project has been delayed by three years in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Terminal B, gates are prefixed with the letters B and D. After reconstruction, non-Schengen flights and Schengen flights can both use the gates simultaneously. There are two gates, one prefixed B and one prefixed D, but the routes of passengers to and from the gates are different to separate the flow of Schengen visitors and non-Schengen guests.
Gates prefixed E can be found in Terminal E, also known as Dock E, which is a stand-alone satellite terminal between runways 16/34 and 14/32 located away from the Airside Center on the opposite side of runway 10/28. International flights other than those from the Schengen area use it exclusively.
Davos Short-Notice Operations
A drop-off facility and alternate parking options are available at LSZH for drop-offs and pick-ups. However, it is unlikely that you will be able to make a last-minute trip to Davos. During the Davos WEF, aircraft movements will increase considerably. Because slots are limited, it is strongly recommended that you book your slots well in advance, so that the best slots can be secured.
Operations for World Economic Forum
In conjunction with the Forum, there is a lot of parking at LSZH, which fills up every year. Ideally, parking requests should be made at least a year in advance in order to give yourself the best chance of success. Parking stays are usually not affected by duration once they have been confirmed.
In about six months before the start of the respective schedule flight, airlines notify coordinators of the arrival and departure times they need for the airports concerned. Airline submissions are made using a standard message format called SCRs (Slot Clearance Requests).
AIP Switzerland LSGG AD 2.20 outlines the conditions for making requests and allocating resources via the PPR system or by phone. An alternative airport slot time must be chosen if the slot requested is unavailable.
In the PPR system, a reference number is generated for each airport slot. ATFM FPL (Air Traffic Flow Management Flight Plan) must include this reference number in field 18 according to AIP instructions. Speculative requests for airport slots without a firm intention to operate are considered abuses of the system.
Zurich Airport Ground Handling Operation for Davos
A long-term planning process is carried out by FZAG’s ground operations planning department. Flight counter requests less than 3 days before STD and short-term changes are handled by Terminal Management.
1. Fuel Uplifts
WEF companies can cause congestion at local airports, so you may want to order fuel (Jet A and AVGAS Jet) the day before departure to avoid delays the day of departure. It is important to note that you will be liable for taxes if you do not leave Switzerland within 24 hours after filling up with tax-free fuel.
The regulation for LSZH requires fuel uplifts to be performed on the day of departure. There is a possibility that uplift delays may occur, especially on the last day. Fuel costs at EDNY are higher because of higher VATs (value added taxes) and mineral oil taxes (MOTs).
2. Ground support
In spite of the availability of ground support equipment (GSE) for ground handling operation and tow bars at both LSZH and EDNY, it is important to carry tow bars during the Davos WEF period.
A full range of in-flight catering services are offered at all airports. A 24 or 48-hour notice is usually needed for standard/basic orders, and a 48-hour notice is usually needed for custom orders. In order to ensure a timely delivery of catering orders, it is recommended to place them well in advance by WEF companies.
4. Ground Transport
Requests for local transport between LSZH and Davos should be made immediately after the schedule is known.
It is advisable to make reservations months in advance if helicopter transfers are necessary between LSZH/EDNY and Davos. When scheduling helicopter transportation, be sure to include the passenger count, luggage, and schedules, and keep in mind that weather can affect the service.
5. Baggage Handling
Bulky items, group baggage, and lost and found luggage may be transported with baggage carts. A fully functional and orderly condition is required for baggage carts used in the terminals and at curbside. A fully functional and orderly condition is required for baggage carts used in the terminals and at curbside.
FZAG will remove equipment not stowed in specially designated curbside areas. It is the owner’s or the operator’s responsibility to pay the costs. There are extended operating hours during peak season for the FZAG baggage sorting system, which operates daily between 04:00 and 23:00. Airport users who require earlier operating hours must notify FZAG Airport Steering at least one week in advance
6. Aircraft Stand
Aircraft stands can be found at Zurich airport in two types:
- There are two types of pier stands: bridges connecting aircraft to buildings
- A remote stand is a place where an aircraft is parked without a direct connection to a building (for passenger or cargo operations)
Depending on their location and technical equipment, APU stands can have considerable differences in emissions
7. Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Service
An auxiliary power unit is a gas turbine mounted on the aft part of a plane at Zurich Airport. There are four types of fuels used for APU: Jet A, Jet A1, Jet B, and JP-4. An APU performs the following functions:
- During ground time, supply aircraft systems with electrical energy (115V, 400Hz)
- Air is provided to the ground-based environmental control system (air conditioning)
- For the starting of the main engine, provide air (bleed air)
- The back-up system in flight provides electric and hydraulic power
Large, medium, and small jet aircraft, regional aircraft, business jets, and turboprops can be equipped with an APU.
Analyses of Operational Activities
- In the event that parking permits are not available at ZRH during the Davos WEF, ground time for dropping off and picking up passengers is limited to two hours
- Ground time for alternate landings on GA flights should not exceed two hours
If you are traveling to Zurich, iJET will take care of everything for you. All airport formalities are handled by our agents, who assist passengers in security, immigration, baggage collection, and drop off procedures.