Regional contribution

The Zurich Airport Group provides excellent infrastructure at its airports that benefits the entire region.


Flughafen Zürich AG makes a significant contribution to economic and social development in all the regions where its airports are located. As a responsible company and major regional player, its activities impact not only its own business, they also exert a positive influence on the wider economy and society at large. By providing flight connections to a wide range of destinations, it performs the key service of linking a region, or indeed an entire country, to the world. Airports also help to create jobs and generate economic value in a region, not just directly but also indirectly at local suppliers. They make a further valuable contribution as land-based transport hubs, as places for meeting up or for leisure activities and shopping, and as partners in research and education. Last but not least, Flughafen Zürich AG's regional sponsorship programmes help encourage a diversity of cultural life in the regions around its airports.

GRI 3 - 3

Approach and progress

Direct flights as a locational advantage

The role of Zurich Airport as a European gateway to the global aviation network is both a requirement of its operating licence from the Swiss government and is anchored in the company's purpose. Fulfilling this mandate for the benefit of Switzerland is an integral part of the company's identity, both on a day-to-day operational basis and as part of its long-term infrastructure development.

The European and intercontinental flights offered at Zurich Airport provide key locational advantages for the region. As well as attracting and helping businesses to grow, they bring tourists to the region and make it a highly desirable place to live and work. Along with passenger transport, freight is also an important economic driver.

Flughafen Zürich AG is actively striving to maintain existing direct flights at Zurich Airport and launch attractive new ones by liaising with airlines to identify potential routes.

Following the significant drop in the number of direct flights from Zurich Airport during the Covid-19 pandemic, the route network recovered during the reporting year, in particular from the second quarter onwards. New routes were also added. In the year under review, airlines flew to a total of 195 destinations (2019: 203) in 73 countries (2019: 69).

Flights to
destinations from Zurich

Regional value creation

The airports operated by Flughafen Zürich AG generate considerable economic value and influence the economic performance of the entire region in myriad ways.

GRI 203 - 1

Every year the company invests several hundred million Swiss francs in infrastructure development. Since its privatisation in 2000, it has invested an average of CHF 1 million per working day in developing and maintaining Zurich Airport. It consequently helps to shape the region's identity, provides jobs and income, and is a major construction industry commissioner. As traffic volumes have risen, the year under review saw investment rise again to a slightly higher level than the previous year. See the Business update section for information on current development projects.

Investments of approx. CHF
1 million
per working day in Zurich since 2000

Over the course of 2022, Flughafen Zürich AG also invested considerable sums of money in infrastructure at its foreign sites, specifically in construction of the new Noida Airport in India and in the expansion and upgrading of the terminal at Iquique Airport in Chile. Investments in its international subsidiaries, especially in India, are set to increase substantially over the coming years.

Other companies and their employees also benefit from supplier and service relationships. Where service levels are comparable and public procurement rules permit, Flughafen Zürich AG gives preference to local companies when awarding contracts. Times of crisis have proved how valuable regional supply chains can be.

The importance of local procurement relationships at the Zurich site is evident from the volume of contracts awarded to local suppliers in the cantons of Zurich, Zug, Aargau, Schaffhausen, Thurgau, Schwyz and St. Gallen. In the year under review, 78% (CHF 342 million) of the parent company's procurement total of approximately CHF 439 million went to local companies. The share thus declined by 4 percentage points.

GRI 204 - 1

Flughafen Zürich AG counts as a government contracting entity in the transport sector and is therefore obliged to comply with public procurement law. This applies both to procurements covered by the relevant international treaties as part of GATT/WTO or with the EU and those not covered by such agreements.

Since 1 July 2021, invitations to tender have been issued in accordance with federal law rather than cantonal law. Further information may be found in the Anti-corruption, Human rights and Fair supply chains sections.

During the reporting year Flughafen Zürich AG once again commissioned a study on the economic importance of Zurich Airport. This study conducted by the independent research and consultancy firm Infras AG provides information about the jobs and economic value generated by Zurich Airport. Including both direct and indirect effects, the airport generated some CHF 4.2 billion for the local economy in the reference year of 2021. Compared with the previous study carried out in 2016, this figure has actually fallen by 16% as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. However, the negative effects of this crisis were clearly offset by the opening of the Circle, as this contributed CHF 1.6 billion to the total. The study also calculated one scenario factoring out the effects of the pandemic. In this case – without the crisis – Zurich Airport would have generated some CHF 7 billion for the economy. This is equivalent to around 4.4% of the gross domestic product of the canton of Zurich, or just under 1% of Switzerland's total GDP. Although this value is hypothetical, given the speedy recovery of the aviation industry it could well be reached soon. The study highlights the importance of Zurich Airport for creating jobs and as Switzerland's gateway to the world for the region, the canton of Zurich and Switzerland as a whole.

Zurich Airport generates CHF
7 billion
for the economy

The company's business activities also benefit the regions and countries where its airports are located thanks to the charges and taxes they generate. Since privatisation in 2000, Flughafen Zürich AG has paid direct taxes of around CHF 721 million in Switzerland and CHF 475 million in dividends has flowed into the public purse (Confederation, canton, city and municipalities). In financial terms alone, its contribution thus amounts to more than CHF 1.2 billion over the last twenty years.

In the case of its international subsidiaries, concession fees for the operation of the airports concerned are also paid to the respective governments. These fees are payable either at the time the concession agreement is signed or are spread over the term of the concession. Details can be found under note 24.7, Concessions for the operation of foreign airports.

Meeting and recreation spaces

Beyond the provision of flights, airports are public spaces where people come to meet up and enjoy recreational activities. By offering access to shopping centers, service providers, leisure and experiential activities, Zurich Airport plays an important role in the everyday lives of the people who live and work in the region. It also puts the company's business model on a broader footing.

Zurich Airport furthermore functions as a central public transport hub for north Zurich, connecting to both local and intercity services. With around 450 train, 400 tram and 700 bus services daily, Zurich Airport is one of the best-connected locations in Switzerland. A statutory requirement in relation to access journeys to the airport stipulates that the proportion of public transport used must be at least 42% by 2020 and 46% by 2030. At the time it was last measured in 2017 this figure was 44%, already exceeding the 2020 target. The survey is normally carried out every four years, but in 2021, owing to the extraordinary circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic, it was decided in consultation with the relevant authorities to postpone it until 2025.

Zurich Airport offers a wide range of experiences that convey the fascination of airports and also invite visitors to explore aspects of nature and the environment as well as impressive architecture. A number of guided tours and bus trips run every day, some in collaboration with the airport's partner companies. The airport is also a popular place to hold conferences, business meetings and events of all kinds. The observation deck at Dock B allows visitors to experience flight operations up close. Around 300,000 people a year on average have visited it since it opened. Following the opening of the Circle in 2020, a newly designed park provides around 80,000 m2 of recreational green space to spend time exploring or meeting up with people. In both cases for the second time, a Quartierfest took place in the Circle in the spring and the Zauberpark festival of light and music was held at the end of the year. With numerous cafés and restaurants, plane spotting locations and nature conservation areas, the immediate environs of Zurich Airport also offer further recreational spaces that draw additional visitors.

The table below shows participant numbers for visitor activities at Zurich Airport. The wide variation in the figures is due to the cancellation of activities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zurich Airport (Zurich site)













Guided tours and bus tours conducted 1)


Number of groups












Number of persons











1) Retroactive adjustment to the calculation method (new excl. events)

Flughafen Zürich AG also adapted the concept of airports as recreational destinations to its subsidiaries abroad, especially in Florianópolis, Brazil. As well as the newly built terminal, in a first for Brazil a 11,000 m2 leisure and recreation area for dining, shopping and concert-going was developed. The observation deck has also proved to be a popular place for visitors to meet. A variety of cultural and sporting events are put on for the general public at both Florianópolis and Vitória airports.

The majority-owned Brazilian airports also organise community and educational activities for local people, especially children. During the reporting year, among other things a bike day for all airport staff was held to promote the use of slow transport for commuting. The “Água e Vida” – Water and Life – project is also running at the company's Brazilian airports. This campaign aims to educate and raise awareness about water protection and organises beach clean-up days each year.

Litter clean-up at Florianópolis beach

Partner in research and education

Flughafen Zürich AG supports universities and organisations engaged in research and teaching, and makes an important contribution in a regional context too. It maintains relationships with universities and institutions such as Zurich University, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the University of St. Gallen (HSG) or the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. It makes staff available for practice-centered lectures, assisting with case studies or reviewing dissertations. Flughafen Zürich AG also plays a role in providing graduate employment opportunities. Universities and organisations furthermore make use of Zurich Airport's resources as a platform for hands-on research into new technologies, for aviation-related topics in particular, but also generally in relation to vehicles, environmental protection, energy and safety.

The “Laboratorio inovação” in Florianópolis pulls together research and development with practice-based partners at the airport to drive digital airport innovations. In collaboration with the authorities and selected airlines, the project to develop streamlined boarding processes using biometric data was continued.

Sponsorships and partnerships

Flughafen Zürich AG makes a valuable contribution to cultural and social diversity in the regions around its airports through its sponsorships, the aims and operation of which are set out in a sponsorship concept. At the Zurich site, the company supports events and clubs based near the airport in particular. It enters into strategic partnerships with individual actors, for example with Switzerland Tourism, Zurich Tourism or with the Swiss Museum of Transport. As well as financial support, it also offers services in-kind, for example providing spaces for advertising cultural or sporting events in Zurich.

As Flughafen Zürich AG is its main sponsor, the highest monetary sponsorship in the Zurich region during the reporting year went to the Young Flyers. Over 650 youngsters belong to this ice hockey association. Many smaller local clubs and organisations also benefited from sponsorship money.

In Brazil, sponsored cultural events are often held directly at the various airports.