Queues for security stretch to the door as Zurich Airport faces staff shortage

Queues for security stretch to the door as Zurich Airport faces staff shortage

Passengers flying out of Swiss airports may have been spared the chaos and disruption seen across Europe last year, but now workers and ground staff at Zurich Airport are feeling the strain. Reports from Blick have revealed that the line for security stretched nearly out of the door on April 25, with the newspaper warning that disruption is likely to continue.

Security waits of over an hour at Zurich Airport

On Tuesday, passengers flying out of Zurich encountered large queues at security in both terminals. At one point, Blick reported that the line for security had stretched beyond the main terminal area and nearly out of the entrance to the airport.

"I've never experienced anything like it, although I'm often at the airport. It's really awe-inspiring," one passerby told Blick after dropping off a friend. He told the newspaper that waiting times at security were well over an hour and that his “friend almost missed the flight… Many were also afraid of missing their plane. It's especially problematic when you don't have a lot of time as a passenger.”

High demand and staff shortages in Zurich

The disruption at Zurich Airport follows reports that surges in customer demand, such as during the school holidays and national days off, could heavily disrupt operations in the coming weeks. Similar queues were also common during the Easter period, although the Swiss media noted that events of this Tuesday show that disruption can happen at any time. Similar scenes were recorded around the Easter weekend:

Speaking to Blick, Zurich Cantonal Police spokesperson Carmen Suber explained that while there are enough workers at the airport itself, the problem is continual staff shortages in the police force that run security and check passports.  While Zurich is often praised for the quality of its security services, Suber noted that not enough officers are available and that "the situation on the job market is tense, meaning the rapid recruitment of new employees is challenging."

Zurich Police to train more staff to solve problem

She added that both the emergency services and Zurich Airport are “finding solutions” to help reduce waiting times to the “expected level.” What these solutions look like is yet to be revealed, but the Zurich Police has already announced a number of new courses to help train more security staff - although it will take some time before these new recruits will be deployed.

In the meantime, Suber recommended all passengers "arrive at the airport two to three hours before departure.” She added that travellers should prepare themselves to go through security by taking out liquids, laptops and other items that need a security check before they reach the scanners, and only bring as much hand luggage as their airline allows.

Thumb image credit: / Michael Derrer Fuchs

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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