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 company can only successfully fulfil its mandate in a functioning society, in an intact environment and in an efficient economy. This means not only primarily meeting statutory obligations and voluntary commitments, it also encompasses the fair and considerate treatment of other parties at both an individual and institutional level.

GRI 3-3

Matters relating to human rights and anti-corruption measures are discussed in greater detail elsewhere in this report.

Approach and progress

Together with the rights and integrity of people, business partners and institutions, the Zurich Airport Group respects the law at all times. It has set out its fundamental ethical principles in the Group Code of Conduct. Following comprehensive revision in 2022, this Group-wide applicable document was then translated during the reporting year from German into English, Spanish and Portuguese – and is thus available in one of the official languages of the countries where the Group operates airports.

Processes to remediate negative impacts

In the event of any negative impacts unjustly resulting from the business activities of the company, Zurich Airport Ltd. acknowledges its responsibility to offer effective remediation to those affected and to support appropriate mechanisms for this purpose.

GRI 2-25

At the Zurich site, Zurich Airport Ltd. is obliged in certain circumstances to compensate owners for a loss in value of their properties as a result of aircraft noise or very low direct overflights (see Noise section). It is further obliged to operate a sound insulation programme to protect properties from noise exposure (see Noise section). As an employer, the company has also set up a staff representation council (PeV) to represent the interests of the workforce and to serve as an initial point of contact for any complaints about the company (see Responsible employer section).

In accordance with their operating licences, the Brazilian airports are obliged to provide low-barrier contact points such as an Ombuds Office. The airports in Florianópolis, Vitória and Macaé consequently each have a separate website that provides information and a facility for submitting written complaints. The focus here is on noise. The airport operators are obliged to discuss these complaints with the national civil aviation authority (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil, ANAC) and report what action has been taken. The Chilean airports offer contact options by telephone and via their websites.

A formal electronic complaints process is provided for employees in Noida. A complaints process is currently being set up for all other stakeholders.

Compliance management

Zurich Airport Ltd.ʼs 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.

In the year under review, no relevant fines or sanctions were imposed due to non-compliance with any social or business laws and regulations.

GRI 2-27

Whistleblower office

The company is reliant on irregularities and violations of rules and regulations being discovered and rectified. The Zurich Airport Ltd.ʼs whistleblower office, run by the General Secretary, deals with cases where an employee has a justifiable suspicion that a concern they have reported using the regular compliance process via the human resources department or via their line manager 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. No such reports were received during the reporting year.

The majority-owned subsidiaries in Brazil, Chile and India likewise have dedicated whistleblower offices and corresponding processes.

A separate process exists for reporting safety concerns relating to flight operations at Zurich Airport (see Occupational and aviation safety). The human resources department and the PeV are also available for reporting matters relating to bullying, sexual harassment and discrimination.

GRI 2-26

Anti-competitive behaviour

The operations of many business partners of the Zurich Airport Group are dependent on the airport infrastructure. The company therefore holds a dominant market position, and in some cases has a monopoly over infrastructures.

The particular infrastructures for which it has a monopoly are approved 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 using a hybrid-till model in accordance with a regulated procedure under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA). 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 firms and airlines is likewise specified in Zurich Airportʼs 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 Brazilʼs National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) on the basis of a dual-till system. A dual-till system is also used in Chile, regulated by the Ministerio de Obras Públicas (MOP). 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 Zurich Airport Ltd. or its majority-owned subsidiaries for anti-competitive behaviour or violations of anti-trust and monopoly laws during the year under review.

GRI 206-1

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. Internal Audit takes a risk-based inspection approach which also includes the majority-owned subsidiaries abroad.

Political contributions

The Code of Conduct was revised during the reporting year in relation to financial contributions. Accordingly, since October 2023 Zurich Airport Ltd. no longer makes any donations to political parties. It last donated set amounts of money to political parties in the Canton of Zurich in spring 2023. No individuals with political mandates or election campaigns will be supported in future either. To date, no donations to political parties have been made in Latin America or India.

Secondary occupations and political office

Zurich Airport Ltd. 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.

Resettlements in India

3,074 families from eight villages will be resettled for the development and construction of the new airport in Noida, India. The Indian state was responsible for this process, which commenced in 2020 and was completed during the year under review.