How Zurich Airport prepares for Trump visit to Davos

Air Force One carrying US President Donald Trump, landing at Zurich airport in 2018, the last time he came to WEF Keystone / Walter Bieri

American secret service agents have been granted access to Zurich Airport’s control tower as they prepare for US President Donald Trump’s visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, the NZZ am Sonntag reports.

This content was published on January 19, 2020 - 11:13
Keystone-SDA/NZZ am Sonntag/SonntagsZeitung/ilj

WEFExternal link, which starts in the Swiss mountain resort on January 21, attracts wealthy, high-profile business and political figures, along with academics and other leaders of society. Around 500 people are expected to attend.

+ Trump to attend World Economic Forum in Switzerland

“There are US Secret Service agents in the tower,” a spokesman for the Swiss air traffic controller, SkyguideExternal link, confirmed to the NZZ am SonntagExternal link.

According to the newspaper, it is unusual for foreign security agents to be allowed into areas that are usually off-limits. “It’s not the general rule,” said the spokesman in the article.

The spokesman made no further comment on the role Trump’s staff would play during the landing and departure of the US president.

Airforce preparations

Meanwhile, the SonntagsZeitung reportsExternal link on the concerns about a disruption that happened to Swisscom’s landline network on Friday for the Swiss airforce, just as it was going into maximum alert ahead of the WEF. The Swiss telecoms operator’s network was down for just over an hour in the morning of Friday 17 January, with emergency numbers also being affected.

According to the newspaper, the landlines at the army’s operations centre in Dübendorf near Zurich - from which operations are coordinated and dangers are assessed - were affected. This was confirmed by an army spokesman in the article. However, encrypted lines and radio frequencies were not affected, and it is “not clear what effects the disruption would have had in an emergency,” the paper said. But every moment counts should something happen at WEF, it added.

Swisscom told Swiss public television SRF on FridayExternal link that it was investigating the circumstances around the technical fault, which affected landlines in most parts of Switzerland. Cantonal emergency services have back-up plans in such cases, such as mobile numbers that can be called.

WEF protests

The weekend has also seen demonstrations against WEF. On Sunday, around 600 activists started a march in Landquart, in the southeastern canton of Graubünden, to call on Davos attendees to take responsibility for climate issues. The protestors will arrive in Davos on Tuesday. Around 1,000 people protested against WEF in a non-authorised demonstration in the Swiss capital, Bern, on Saturday.

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