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Zurich voters say yes to controversial runway extensions

Updated at 03 Mar 2024 12:40 pm

The people of Zurich have given the green light for the runway extensions at the airport. Not all municipalities have been counted yet. However, the results so far are clear.

Flughafen Zürich AG can thus extend runway 28 by 400 meters to the west and runway 32 by 280 meters to the north. The costs of CHF 250 million will be borne by the airport itself.

According to the airport, the aim is to increase safety and improve punctuality. This would also ensure less aircraft noise in the evening hours. The airport was primarily supported by the conservative parties. The Zurich Government Council and the Cantonal Council were also in favor.

Opponents find "airport big enough"

Aircraft noise opponents and left-wing parties criticized the fact that this would enable an increase in capacity in the longer term. More flights would lead to more noise and even more emissions. The "highly frequented and excellently connected airport" is big enough, they say.

The airport bill is regarded as the vote of the year in the canton of Zurich. The debate in the run-up to the vote was correspondingly loud. Opponents of the runway expansion even demanded that the referendum newspaper not be delivered - their arguments had been amended and shortened by the cantonal government.

No to the "anti-chauvinist initiative"

However, the SVP's "Anti-Chaoten-Initiative" was rejected. This wants to charge the organizers for police interventions and property damage at demonstrations. However, a majority supports a more moderate counter-proposal. This only provides for the organizers to be billed if the perpetrators of property damage acted intentionally.

The popular initiative for a continuous lakeside path along Lake Zurich is also likely to be rejected. Criticism was voiced in advance, for example, that the construction of a path would result in a massive encroachment on private property.

©Keystone/SDA

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