2017 got off to a pleasing start in terms of the developments at Dübendorf Airport. The Zurich cantonal council’s decision to reassess future usage of the facility saw it do an about-face on January 11.
It realized that Switzerland has no room for sprawling infrastructures like airports, and that it is therefore a reasonable desire for the federal government to protect the existing infrastructure in Dübendorf in terms of space and function.
Business Aviation essential for Zurich as a financial hub
The council also acknowledged that the federal government has full jurisdiction over aviation issues, rendering the decision to build a civil airfield in Dübendorf binding for the canton. The cantonal council has now also realized that business aviation is essential for Zurich as a financial hub with its influence and requirements and that it is therefore important to give this area of aviation, which is being squeezed out at Zurich airport, its own specific, well located infrastructure in Dübendorf.
Three-way usage plan
The federal government’s rejection of the alternative “Historic air base with test flights” plan, submitted by the local municipalities on March 23, reiterated the notion that the Dübendorf Airport is ultimately intended to serve business aviation and that the three-way usage plan announced in early 2014 will be implemented. As is well known, the Swiss Federal Council officially stipulated the conceptual objectives and requirements for Dübendorf Airport in the Aviation Infrastructure section of the plan on August 31, 2016:
Parts of the Dübendorf Military Air Base will be converted into a civil airfield, which will primarily be used for business travel. It will also be available for test flights, sport and recreational flights. Basic flying training, as well as airline and charter aircraft traffic, will not be permitted.
The Dübendorf civil airfield houses a helicopter base for rescue flights and cantonal police flights. There will also be options for other commercial and private helicopter flights.
Usage of the Dübendorf civil airfield may be shared with the air force for flights involving military helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.
Aviation Infrastructure Plan, Section, 31/8/2016
The federal government’s clear stance on the alternative scheme provides now planning reliability.
Based on the order to provide the Federal Council with an Aviation Infrastructure Plan object sheet (in German: SIL-Objektblatt) for approval by March 2019, the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA, in German BAZL) initiated the SIL coordination process on February 2, 2017. The foundations of the infrastructure plan and future operation are being laid with the involvement of relevant federal and cantonal centers, the three local municipalities, the Glattal planning group and Flugplatz Dübendorf AG.
Overall architectural plan
Activities in the near future will be focused on the next SIL coordination talks and completion of the specifications for the study contract planned for the second quarter of 2017. The architectural competition aims to present Flugplatz Dübendorf AG with the best possible solution for an overall architectural plan. The actual construction project and request for planning approval will be formulated based on this.