Occupational and aviation safety

Protecting the physical integrity of all people and infrastructure at airports is of the utmost importance. Systematic and innovative approaches to safety and security ensure they are protected.


Protecting people and infrastructure from injury, damage, accidents or criminal acts is a top priority for the company. One aim therefore is to avoid incidents and accidents involving people or material objects. Efforts in this direction fall into the category of safety. At the same time, as the licence holder for the airport, Flughafen Zürich AG is obliged to take precautions against wilful acts and must be ready to limit any resulting damage. Such matters fall into the category of security. The responsibility for both safety and security, and consequently the scope of the concepts applied by Flughafen Zürich AG at Zurich Airport, extends beyond the company to the airport as a whole. For matters relating to occupational health and safety on the other hand, Flughafen Zürich AG's direct responsibility extends only to the company itself.

Ensuring safety and security is also a core responsibility for operations abroad. However, owing to the specific terms of the concession models in the respective countries, this may be handled organisationally in different ways at the various airports. In Brazil, the airport operator is responsible for drafting and implementing safety and security concepts. These must be approved by various government agencies at different levels (security, customs and regulatory authorities). In Chile, on the other hand, all aspects of operational safety are a matter for the government, namely through the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC). The licensed companies then have responsibility for safety solely in the publicly accessible passenger zones.

GRI 3 - 3

All countries where Flughafen Zürich AG operates belong to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and are contractually obliged to follow its safety and security standards and recommendations for commercial airports. The company is additionally obliged to comply with further statutory and regulatory requirements relating to safety, security and occupational health and safety.

Safety and security standards of
apply across the group

Approach and progress

Overarching safety and security responsibilities

The company operates an Integrated Management System (IMS) for the systematic management of all safety and security aspects relating to flight operations at Zurich Airport. As well as safety and security, this also encompasses occupational health and safety. The aim of the integrated management system is firstly to reduce organisational risks by putting clear processes and organisational structures in place, and secondly to systematically improve prevention so that injuries and material damage are avoided from the outset. The number of incidents and accidents per year relative to the number of flight movements and employees should be continually reduced. For the most part, this was achieved during the past year.

Safety aspects managed in

Ensuring safety and security at airports requires the collaboration of the companies based at the airport and their employees. Various factors play a role, from construction requirements through to the organisation of processes and the behaviour of employees. Flight operations and ramp safety at Zurich Airport are handled by specific units of Flughafen Zürich AG. They make sure the airport is running smoothly in accordance with the regulations at all times and that it is able to respond to any incidents.

In the event of an incident, Flughafen Zürich AG has the primary responsibility for coordinating the various emergency responders. As well as drafting and updating emergency plans and operation concepts, it is also obliged to carry out regular wide-scale drills. Although the airport fire and rescue service is based on the airfield, it is actually part of the City of Zurich's emergency services. Flughafen Zürich AG additionally operates a company fire brigade, as does its service partner SR Technics.


The IMS at Zurich Airport also includes a Safety Management System which provides a comprehensive and systematic way of managing risks and hazards in order to ensure safe and compliant flight operations. The aim is to prevent both personal injury and material damage. The key principles of the safety and reporting culture and the Safety Management System are anchored in the company's safety policy, which also details the respective responsibilities. In addition, the aerodrome manual published annually by the Safety Office lists all safety-relevant management processes. This fulfils the requirements of EU Regulation 139/2014.

Cooperation of all the parties involved, namely the airport's partner companies, is essential. These meet in various committees. By training, followed by examinations in some cases, the company ensures that all personnel with access to the airside operating areas of Zurich Airport are adequately trained. In addition, it periodically runs awareness campaigns to spotlight individual aspects. Another important point is how incidents and infringements are handled. At Zurich Airport, importance is attached to cultivating a culture of openness that encourages the reporting of critical or potentially critical incidents. The aim here is to identify what improvements could be made and put them into practice.

Both the authorities and Flughafen Zürich AG itself regularly conduct inspections and airport operation audits to verify that rules and safety procedures are being followed in day-to-day operations. During the year under review, FOCA carried out 3 audits and inspections at Zurich Airport. In addition, the internal Safety Office performed 15 audits (including emergency drill). A few deviations and several recommendations were identified, but no significant deficiencies were discovered.

16 tip-offs were received on the electronic platform for reporting safety concerns (of which one was anonymous). All reports were followed up and action taken where possible. Unless the tip-offs were anonymous, those reporting their concerns were informed of the outcome.

One specific initiative launched by the airports in Brazil is awareness-raising among the residents of neighbouring communities. Information campaigns highlight the dangers of laser pointers or sport kites as potential hazards to aircraft. Florianópolis, Vitória and Macaé are the first airports in Brazil to deploy drones to check the condition of runways, fences and other parts of the infrastructure. Drones can reach places that are otherwise inaccessible and they substitute the use of cars, which is also better for the carbon footprint.

used for inspections in Brazil


Zurich Airport is obliged to implement many national and international regulations relating to security in the air. This is based on the National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NASP) issued by FOCA. The airport operator is responsible for ensuring and verifying that its processes comply with all legislation. However, the Zurich cantonal police and private security firms are responsible for carrying out the actual security checks at doors and gates, and for passengers, baggage and freight.

The performance of security checks at airports always involves balancing security, efficiency and customer-friendliness. However, ongoing improvements to the security processes aim to continually enhance the user experience.

Both the authorities and Flughafen Zürich AG itself regularly carry out spot checks and audits at the checkpoints to verify the quality of the service and compliance with the regulations. Compared with other European airports, compliance with regulations is very high, and Zurich Airport frequently receives high ratings for the customer-friendliness of its passenger security checkpoints.

During the year under review, FOCA carried out 12 audits, inspections and tests. In addition, the internal Airport Security unit performed 288 quality control checks. 54 deviations were ascertained and corrected with the appropriate measures. Neither FOCA nor Airport Security detected any serious deviations. No incidents of a terrorist nature occurred at Zurich Airport or any of the company's majority-owned airports abroad during the year under review.

Occupational safety and fire safety

Occupational safety is not merely about complying with statutory obligations, it is also a matter of attitude and showing leadership at all levels. Safety at work makes a valuable contribution both to preventing suffering and to avoiding – or at least reducing – the costs associated with absences. Switzerland's accident insurance legislation obliges Flughafen Zürich AG to take all technically feasible steps which experience deems necessary and appropriate in the circumstances to prevent occupational illnesses and workplace accidents. The company has set out its position in its occupational safety policy.

Flughafen Zürich AG regularly conducts internal inspections and audits. Inspections are also carried out by various official bodies. Besides checking day-to-day operations, the latter also review the systematic implementation of occupational health and safety as well as fire safety measures.

An extensive internal system analysis of the occupational safety system was carried out during the year under review. This produced various recommended actions to further improve occupational safety. These measures will be implemented over the coming years.

Flughafen Zürich AG attaches great importance to informing its employees about risks and safety measures at the workplace. It encourages a positive safety culture through training and professional development. New e-learning modules for employees and managers were therefore developed which focus on occupational health and safety responsibilities and also cover maternity leave and child protection.

Occupational health and safety on the construction site in Noida

When the construction contract of the new airport in Noida was awarded during the reporting year, the responsible local Flughafen Zürich AG subsidiary imposed strict workforce protection requirements above and beyond the statutory requirements. Everyone working on the building site will receive occupational safety training and will be provided with personal protective equipment.

Additional insulation and ventilation was fitted to workers' accommodation on the construction site to provide better protection from the weather. More care was also taken in the sanitary facilities to respect privacy and protect the health of workers.

Both the authorities and the management of the local subsidiary periodically check site safety and the accommodation situation.

Key data

Zurich Airport













Aircraft damage


Number of cases per 1000 flight movements











Vehicle damage


Number of cases per 1000 flight movements











Infrastructural damage


Number of cases per 1000 flight movements




0.32 1)







1) since 2019: all operating areas (not only aircraft operating areas)

Flughafen Zürich AG, Zurich site













Number of hours lost through accidents (occupational accidents)


Hours (h) per 1000 FTEs











Number of hours lost through accidents (non-occupational accidents)


Hours (h) per 1000 FTEs