ZURICH - The preferred mode of transportation for arriving at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos is, unsurprisingly, private jet. But this year there appears to be an unprecedented overflow of private planes arriving in Switzerland's airports.
Zurich airport spokeswomen, Sonja Zöchling, said they were counting on 1,000 extra flights coming in and out during the forum, which runs through Jan. 29. There is space to park 54 planes. “Anything over and above that has to be distributed to other airports,” Zöchling said.
One of the alternative parking spots in past years has been the military airport in Dübendorf. Stefan Hofer, head of communication for the Swiss army’s high command, said demand for space has risen. “We usually make space for 15 planes available,” said Hofer. “This year, depending on the size of the plane, we’re making room for 25 to 30 planes.”
Normally, the planes would stay parked until the end of the five-day meeting, “but there are exceptions.” Normal operations at the airport are not affected by the extra traffic, Hofer said.
As they have been in the past, communities near the Dübendorf airport were informed that there would be extra traffic during Davos week. But locals, who tolerated air traffic for military necessities, are losing patience with all the WEF air and noise pollution. In nearby Volketswil, town clerk Beat Grob expressed astonishment that traffic at the airport had doubled during the WEF meeting, but said that only after the meeting was over would they be able to establish exactly how much extra traffic there had been.
The town clerk of Wangen-Brüttisellen, Christoph Bless, said that when the army starts using the field again in 2014, with the exception of Rega rescue helicopters, "there should be no civil aviation at all there.”
Read the full story in German by Tina Fassbind
Photo – Kecko
*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations