Security tightened at Zurich Airport ahead of peace summit

Security tightened at Zurich Airport ahead of peace summit

As Switzerland gears up to host the latest major peace summit on Ukraine, Zurich Airport has announced a series of heightened security measures that will be in place on June 15 and 16. Here’s what passengers, visitors and residents living near the airport need to know.

Zurich Airport on high alert ahead of Ukraine peace conference

With 90 different countries slated to attend the Ukraine peace conference on the Bürgenstock this weekend - half of which will be represented by heads of state - Zurich Airport has been designated as the sole airport for arrivals and departures related to the summit. At the same time, the Swiss government has confirmed that the country has come under increasing cyber attacks ahead of the conference, with the meeting seen as a likely target for disruption and even violent attacks.

As a result, officials confirmed that heightened security measures will be in place both around the Bürgenstock - where 4.000 soldiers will be deployed - and at the main airport in Zurich. “There is nothing more unsafe than a peace conference”, Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis told reporters.

"The conference is unprecedented in Switzerland in terms of security requirements due to the subject matter and the circle of guests," Zurich Airport spokesperson Bettina Kunz told 20 Minuten. Swiss police have refused to provide in-depth detail about their operations for security reasons, with a Swissport baggage handler telling the newspaper that they “were only told to be prepared for overtime."

Zurich Airport to expand operating hours on June 15 and 16

On June 15 and 16, the airspace around the Bürgenstock will be heavily restricted and Zurich Airport will be closed to helicopter and private jet flights unrelated to the conference. In what will be bad news for the tired residents of Kloten, Bassersdorf, Bülach, Rümlang and other towns around the airport, officials will also expand operating hours during both days, meaning flights can take off and land until 2am in the morning. Government flights can arrive and depart at any time.

During the conference, all observation decks in the airport will be closed, and all public airport tours will be cancelled. It is currently unclear whether viewing points around the airport will be closed (Oberglatt Pistenende, Heligrill Klotenerstrasse, etc), though plane spotters have been told to expect additional security measures along the airport fence.

Will flights at Zurich Airport be affected by the peace conference?

When it comes to commercial passengers, the airport confirmed that all flights are currently scheduled as normal on June 15 and 16. However, with arrivals and departures from the conference expected to be random and done at short notice, delays in take-offs and landings of passenger flights are possible.

Therefore, Zurich Airport has advised travellers to check the status of their flights regularly before heading to the airport. "However, the journey to the airport, check-in and security checks can be planned as usual," Kunz assured.

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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