Business ethics

Complying with the law, treating all people with respect, and conducting business as a fair and reliable partner all rank among the fundamental values of the Zurich Airport Group.


The high-profile position of airports as mobility hubs for a region or an entire country brings with it a wider responsibility. Over the long term, the Zurich Airport Group can fulfil its mandate only in an intact society, in a healthy environment and in an efficient economy. Matters relating to human rights and anti-corruption measures are discussed in greater detail elsewhere in this report.

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Approach and progress

The ethical business principles of the Zurich Airport Group are set out in a Code of Conduct drawn up specifically for each country represented in the group (Switzerland, Brazil, Chile and India). These are further supplemented by other documents that go into more detail.

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On signing up to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) in July 2021, Flughafen Zürich AG initiated a process for further developing these fundamental principles. They are being reviewed to ascertain whether existing documents meet the requirements of the UNGC or whether revision is necessary. Any changes required to fully align the principles will be made in 2022.

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Compliance management

Flughafen Zürich AG’s compliance management system is used to systematically identify, understand and comply with statutory requirements as well as with internal corporate guidelines and ethical principles such as the Code of Conduct that are based on those requirements. This is described in more detail in the Risk management section.

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During the reporting period no sanctions were imposed as a result of non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations (no fines or non-monetary sanctions), and there were no out-of-court dispute settlement proceedings as a result of non-compliance with environmental laws or regulations.

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In the year under review, no relevant fines or sanctions were imposed due to non-compliance with legislation and/or regulations.

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Whistleblower office

Alongside its standard compliance process, Flughafen Zürich AG operates a whistleblower office. The company is reliant on irregularities and violations of rules and regulations being discovered and rectified. The whistleblower office, run by the General Secretary, is available for cases where an employee has a justifiable suspicion that a concern they have reported via the normal channels is not being followed up appropriately, or where they fear personal reprisals. As far as possible, the identity of the whistleblower will remain confidential during any investigations. There were no cases processed by the whistleblower office during the reporting year.

A separate process exists for reporting safety concerns relating to flight operations (see Occupational and aviation safety section) and for the human resources department (HR) or staff representation council (PeV) in relation to bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination.

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Anti-competitive behaviour

At all its airports the Zurich Airport Group has a number of service partners whose business activities are dependent on the group’s infrastructure. It is therefore in a strong position as a vendor and in some cases has a monopoly over infrastructures.

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The particular infrastructures for which it has a monopoly are specified by the Swiss government and set out transparently in the operating regulations for Zurich Airport (Annex 4, Attachment 2). The charges for using these infrastructures are specified and levied in accordance with legally regulated procedures. These procedures ensure that users are involved in setting the charges and have access to information about the cost basis used.

Market access for ground handling and for the airlines is likewise specified in Zurich Airport’s operating regulations. Zurich Airport is obliged to manage and provide stakeholders with access to its infrastructures in a fair, objective, transparent and non-discriminatory way.

The operating licences of the international subsidiaries are also subject to government regulation, which varies depending on the particular country concerned. For instance, the bigger airports in Brazil are regulated by Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) on the basis of a dual-till system. The new airport in India will be regulated by the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (AERA) on the basis of a hybrid-till system.

No legal proceedings were brought against Flughafen Zürich AG or its fully consolidated subsidiaries for anti-competitive behaviour or violations of anti-trust and monopoly laws during the year under review.

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Internal Audit

Internal Audit is an independent and autonomous unit within the company. It reports functionally to the Audit & Finance Committee. Its auditing activities help to identify risks and weaknesses in established processes, enabling any gaps to be closed.

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Political contributions

Flughafen Zürich AG grants cantonal parties in the Canton of Zurich an annual fixed sum supplemented by additional contributions during election years provided a party has enough members to form a recognised parliamentary group in the Cantonal Parliament and supports demand-driven aviation policy. The applicable principles are documented in writing. No political contributions are made in Latin America or India.

Secondary occupations and political office

Flughafen Zürich AG supports public service through paid leave where necessary. Employees who wish to take up public office or pursue another time-consuming secondary occupation must notify the company so any conflicts of interest are recognised in good time.

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Resettlements in India

2377 families from a total of eight villages will be resettled for the development and construction of the new greenfield airport in Noida, India. Most of the area earmarked for the new airport is agricultural land. The Gautam Buddha Nagar Administration, part of the government of Uttar Pradesh, is responsible for and is handling the resettlement and compensation process for the families affected. Compensation for the displaced families is in accordance with established government processes in India and falls under the “Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act” (RFCTLARR Act, 2013). Most families are paid cash for their land and receive an offer of new accommodation. The proportion of women affected by the resettlement is approximately 49%. The process of resettlement started in 2020 and should be completed during 2023.