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Weathering the Covid-19 Storm in Switzerland

Much of the focus throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has been on the adverse effect on daily lives, with shops and stores closed along with places of work for businesses large and small. Many of those however, in one way or another (and often without realising it) rely on aviation and air transport. Yet the airline world has been on the end of sometimes intense activity from the climate change movement, with frequent calls for it to be shut down.

The current health emergency has brought about just that – the almost complete cessation of a once thriving industry. Again however, the publicity has been aimed at airlines as, with their income streams removed completely, many have sought government help to remain in existence. Some have already gone; Flybe in the UK, Miami Air in the USA and Colombia’s Avianca, one of the oldest and most long-established air carriers in the world, entering bankruptcy within the last few days.

The airline industry is noted for its financial instability; one year an airline is profitable, the next posting heavy losses. This is often the subject of mainstream news commentary but one aspect often overlooked is the place every aircraft needs to start and end every journey – the airport. Large or small, passenger and cargo, business or private weekend flying, every aircraft needs an airport. Yet airports are businesses just like any other and all rely not only on the airlines that fly to them but also the shops and stores found in their terminals. Airports also rely on a huge number of usually unseen and unnoticed supply industries so not only airports themselves – and the people directly employed at them – have been affected by the near halt of commercial flying, but thousands and thousands of jobs are at enormous risk.

KJM Today took a look at the Swiss capital city Zurich’s airport to note the effect there.

Zurich is normally one of Europe's busiest airports

Key traffic figures March 2020