Swiss airports see 50% fewer passengers than pre-pandemic

Traffic is expected to be better than 2020 but still lower than airlines had hoped prior to the emergence of Omicron. Keystone / Michael Buholzer

Amid flight cancellations and coronavirus related travel restrictions, Swiss airports are expecting half the number of passengers over the holidays than before the pandemic. This is still more traffic than in 2020.

This content was published on December 24, 2021 - 16:54

Flight hubs of Geneva, Zurich and Basel have all reported more activity than last year but are seeing more people cancel or postpone trips amid more concerns about the Omicron variant and more stringent entry requirements in some countries. Some airlines have also been forced to cancel flights because of fewer bookings and a shortage of personnel.

Geneva Cointrin airport expects Sunday to be its busiest day with around 33,000 passengers passing through the airport. "This is half of the normal traffic before the pandemic," said Ignace Jeannerat, spokesperson for Geneva Airport, interviewed by Swiss media agency Keystone-ATS. On Christmas Day, which is typically the quietest, some 18,000 people should depart or arrive in Geneva according to the forecast.

Switzerland is particularly affected by fewer travelers from the UK who come for skiing. Flights from the UK to Geneva have around 35% fewer passengers than usual. British Airways has cancelled all flights to and from Basel-Mulhouse until the end of the year.

At Zurich airport, nearly 34,000 passengers are expected every day during Christmas week. In 2020, there were half this many. However, this is still a fraction of what was recorded in 2019 when about 85,000 passengers passed through Zurich airport.

Basel-Mulhouse Euroairport expects 40% of the 2019 traffic during the holidays.

According to the airports, waiting times at airports remain limited despite additional checks for test results or vaccinations that are required by different governments.

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