The situation in outgoing tourism is slowly recovering and many Swiss people want to travel abroad by plane again. Covid-19 poses challenges for travelers, as well as flight providers, airlines and airports, which will probably change flying even after the pandemic. In addition, the many new rules and regulations create uncertainties among travelers.
For these reasons, TRAVEL INSIDE asked the Swiss airports and asked the most important questions about the current situation. After the interview with the director of Euroairport Basel TRAVEL INSIDE spoke to Manuela Staub, Head of Corporate Communication at Zurich Airport, as part of its airport interview series.
Manuela Staub, how often are corona checks carried out at Zurich Airport?
To do this, we would have to refer you to the Kapo or the authorities, as they are responsible for the relevant controls at Zurich Airport.
What is the current workload?
During the autumn holidays, we had around 65% of the passenger volume on individual peak days compared to the time before Corona. After the autumn break, a slight decline is to be expected, with America reopening since November 8th and we are also receiving positive signals from Asia.
Are waiting times to be expected?
Due to the extended document control, it can sometimes take a little longer. We therefore recommend that passengers still arrive at Zurich Airport at least two hours before departure and have the documents they need for the trip ready.
Where does the mask requirement apply everywhere?
As prescribed by the authorities, a general mask requirement applies in public buildings at Zurich Airport.
What is open or closed at the airport?
The shops and restaurants at Zurich Airport are all reopened, some with slightly adjusted opening times. There are also new and redesigned offers. Marché and Burger King on the air side have been rebuilt, Yoojiis is now offering sushi and other Japanese delicacies in addition to Finger Dock A and Dock B. In addition, Dosenbach and McPaperland have opened new shops in Airport Shopping.
What’s new about this year’s winter flight schedule?
It is nice to see that 80% of the airlines from before the pandemic are back in Zurich and the same number of destinations are being offered as before the crisis – albeit with a lower frequency in some cases. The connections to Beirut and Tel Aviv, which were resumed by Chair and El Al in the summer, will continue to be operated in the winter.
Swiss now also flies to Beirut twice a week. American Airlines will be flying daily to Philadelphia again in mid-December. United Airlines also serves New York and Washington through the winter. From December, Swiss will expand its service to New York JFK from a daily flight to a total of eleven connections per week. In the direction of South America, the daily connection to Sao Paulo will be extended to Buenos Aires twice a week. Delta Air Lines will control the Zurich-New York JFK route again from February 14th.
How have the numbers (departures and passengers) changed compared to 2019?
In the first six months, the number of passengers was at a low level of under 20% compared to 2019. With the beginning of summer, the numbers rose steadily. Since then, the passenger volume has been around 50% compared to 2019.
What do you expect from 2022?
We expect the recovery WILL continue in 2022. We feel that people want to travel again. The need for family visits abroad, for personal business contacts or for holidays abroad is gross. It is difficult to make a prognosis, however, as the recovery of the further course of the pandemic and the opening of the target countries from.
Are there any new direct flight destinations?
New direct connections from Zurich are Zanzibar and Liberia (Costa Rica) – served by Edelweiss. They also fly to Sal and Muscat. Since 2013, for the first time again with a direct connection from Zurich, Luxor has been on offer, also served by Edelweiss.
(Interview: Yannick Suter)