Airports sector in Switzerland

An Expert's View about Airports in Switzerland

Posted on: 6 Oct 2010

The increasing number of passengers travelling though Swiss airports offers a broad range of future business opportunities for UK companies.

Airports - Switzerland Sector Report Airports Switzerland Produced by: Regula Hofer, Senior Project Manager Trade & Investment, British Embassy Berne Last revised March 2010 Whereas every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this document is accurate, neither UK Trade & Investment nor its parent Departments (the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), accept liability for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, and no warranty is given or responsibility accepted as to the standing of any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. Published February 2010 by UK Trade & Investment. Crown Copyright © Airports - Switzerland Table of Contents OVERVIEW 3 OPPORTUNITIES 3 CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET 3 KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS 5 MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS 5 PUBLICATIONS 6 EVENTS 7 CONTACT LISTS 7 Page 2 of 7 Airports - Switzerland OVERVIEW Air traffic is unquestionably of outstanding political and economical significance for a small and open economy like Switzerland. The aviation industry of Switzerland accounts for 176,000 jobs and in one form or another adds value amounting to 26bn Swiss Francs ? which equates roughly six percent of the national GDP. Switzerland?s international airports are a central part of the air transportation value chain, which includes numerous suppliers and services. Even though Swiss airports are generally private- owned and operate on a commercial basis, there is in general a municipal and regional government involvement. OPPORTUNITIES The increasing number of passengers travelling though Swiss airports offers a broad range of future business opportunities for UK companies. Especially the safety and security sector offers a variety of opportunities in equipment and systems, redesign of existing processes or consulting work. A key method for UK firms to enter the Swiss market is through Swiss public procurement. Tenders are commonly fed in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce. Detailed information are on . Publication in official EU publications is not required of Swiss based firms, but Switzerland is committed to the WTO agreement, which many procurement processes adhere to. Since there is generally no collective procurement strategy, most airports have established their own expertise in procurement and technical matters. Furthermore, business is rarely done through agents but via direct procurement. UKTI publishes international business opportunities gathered by our network of British Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates worldwide. These opportunities appear in the Opportunities portlet on the relevant sector and country pages on the UKTI website. By setting up a profile you can be alerted by email when relevant new opportunities are published. New or updated alert profiles can be set in My Account on the website. CHARACTERISTICS OF MARKET Key players in the Swiss market Zurich International Airport The privately managed Unique Airport Ltd ( operates Switzerland?s International Airport of Zurich. 49 percent of Unique is owned by the Canton of Zurich and a further 5 percent by the City of Zurich. Unique is one of about 180 companies at Zurich Airport; in total they employ approximately 20,000 people, of which 1,400 are employed by Unique. Zurich Airport is the main hub for Switzerland?s principal airline - SWISS International Airlines ? which generates the major part of the air traffic volume, followed by Lufthansa, Air Berlin and British Airways. In addition to the airport?s feeder function for road, rail and air traffic, the complex serves as a centre for shopping, entertainment and services. Geneva International Airport In recent years, Geneva Airport has chosen to work with both types of traffic, on one hand the network airlines and, on the other, the ?no-frills? air travel. At the airport 150 companies and organisations employ roughly 6,500 persons on-site. EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg The world?s only binational airport is situated entirely on French territory and has a separate Swiss customs sector that is linked to Basel via a controlled access road. The airport serves a Page 3 of 7 Airports - Switzerland trinational region encompassing Alsace (F), North-West Switzerland and South Baden (D). The extensive range of goods transported via EuroAirport each year ? totalling around 100,000 tonnes ? reflects the broad variety of business activities in the region. Airport Lugano-Agno Situated south of the Alps between Zurich and Milan, Lugano Airport ensures a fast connection between the Lugano area and major Swiss and European centres, operates as a hub for air traffic between Northern and Southern Europe and provides business people and tourists with access to the Lugano region. In February 2009 it was announced, that the City of Lugano has approved 14.5 million Swiss Francs to expand the airport Lugano Agno. The upgrade includes the modernisation of the terminal and the extension of the runway by 100 metres. The airport will thus be able to accommodate aircraft for up to 80 passengers (compared to 50 passengers today). Airport St. Gallen-Altenrhein St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport is situated in the east of Switzerland bordering Vorarlberg, Liechtenstein and south of Germany and serves scheduled flights to various European destinations. Airport Bern-Belp The international airport of Switzerland?s capital Berne is operated by the privatly-owned Alpar Flug- und Flugplatzgesellschaft AG. Bern-Belp is approached by European airlines such as Lufthansa and Air France offering direct flights to Munich and Paris and Charter Destinations. Further key areas Facility management Facility management is usually handled by the local airport operator, who ? to some extent ? outsource a number of technical and infrastructure management functions. So far it has been quite common for the airport operator (authority) to establish contracts not just with one facility company but with a large number of specialised firms, but there seems to be a trend towards a more integrated pattern. Shopping and conference The non-aviation business has become a key factor in the airport industry and generally cross- subsidises other airport operations helping to keep airport charges at a competitive level. Headquartered in Switzerland, the Nuance Group ( is one of the world?s leading airport retailers and has a sizeable presence in Zurich and Geneva Airport. Safety and security Swiss airports operate under IATA regulations and Swiss law and are responsible for implementing safety and security matters. The Swiss stock company for civil and military air traffic control Skyguide ( controls Swiss airspace operating from all major airports in Switzerland. Government supervision The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) is responsible for aviation development and the supervision of civil aviation activities in Switzerland. The FOCA is part of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) and is charged with ensuring that the high safety standards in civil aviation in Switzerland are maintained. For more information please go to Page 4 of 7 Airports - Switzerland Swiss Airports and the Schengen Agreement Since 12 December 2008, there are no longer any systematic personal controls at Switzerland?s surface borders, following the entry into force of the Agreement associating Switzerland with the Schengen Area, adopted by the Swiss people in 2005. The Agreement provides for the free movement of people in the 24 countries of the Schengen Area. For Switzerland, the airports are in fact the only external borders of the Schengen Area. Passengers from or bound for countries outside the Schengen area must therefore undergo systematic personal controls. Passengers moving within the Schengen Area are not subject to the controls; hence the two passenger streams must be separated. Since Switzerland is not a member of the customs union established by the European Union, which provides for the free movement of goods, customs controls will remain in place both at airports and for surface access. KEY METHODS OF DOING BUSINESS Even though Switzerland is not a member state, the European Union is by far the most important trading partner of Switzerland. However, while Switzerland shares close contractual ties with the EU, the country has its own established standards and regulations, which are not necessarily, but more often than not, valid within the European Community. Switzerland encompasses three main languages (German, French, Italian) and even though English is widely spoken it is important to have any documentation available in at least one of the official national languages. In general, quality and technical criteria are more important than price in bid decisions. If you wish to establish a long-term relationship with Swiss customers you should be prepared to satisfy the demands and requirements, provide evidence of flexibility and a high level of service, and express commitment to the market. It is essential that products are supplied on schedule and in accordance with the contracted details. Ongoing communication and feedback between supplier and customer is another important aspect. Other background information on doing business in Switzerland can be found on UKTI?s website. Simply go to the Swiss country page where you will find information on: ? Economic background and geography ? Customs & regulations ? Selling & communications ? Contacts & setting up ? Visiting and social hints and tips MORE DETAILED SECTOR REPORTS Research is critical when considering new markets. UKTI provides market research services which can help UK companies doing business overseas including: ? Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). Bespoke research into potential markets, and support during your visits overseas ? Export Marketing Research Scheme. In-depth and subsidised service administered by the British Chambers of Commerce on behalf of UKTI Contact your local International Trade Adviser if you are interested in accessing these services, or for general advice in developing your export strategy. Page 5 of 7 Airports - Switzerland When considering doing business in Switzerland, it is essential to obtain legal, financial and taxation advice. For further details, please contact: Regula Hofer Senior Project Manager Trade & Investment British Embassy Thunstrasse 50 CH-3005 Bern Tel: +41 (0)31 359 7742 Fax: +41 (0)31 359 7701 PUBLICATIONS Aviation magazines Airlines International ( Airlines International is the IATA flagship magazine designed to inform airline management, industry associates and government officials. Interavia ( Interavia covers the Business and Technology of the world aerospace industries, with a distinctly European editorial viewpoint. Aero Revue ( Switzerland?s largest aviation magazine with a Swiss point of view. SkyNews ( A recently launched magazine covering different aspects of Switzerland?s aerospace industry. Cockpit ( Covers civil and military aspects of Switzerland?s aerospace industry. Airport specific magazines of Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern and St. Gallen-Altenrhein are available on request. Other sources of information SIAA Swiss International Airport Association ( Swiss organisation to promote and safeguard the interests of Switzerland?s airports. Aerosuisse ( Umbrella organisation of Swiss civil aerospace representing over 100 companies from the aerospace sector. Swiss Aeronautical Industries Group ( Aerospace division of Swissmem (the Swiss mechanical, electrical and engineering industries). Board of Airline Representatives in Switzerland BAR ( The Board of Airline Representatives in Switzerland (B.A.R.) is the partnership of airlines who operate scheduled traffic from/to Switzerland or who are represented by a sales office in Switzerland. Page 6 of 7 Airports - Switzerland EVENTS EBACE European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, held annually in Geneva. Next 4-6 May 2010 Farnborough International Air Show Exhibition held every two years in Farnborough. Next 19?25 July 2010 UK Trade & Investment?s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) can help eligible UK businesses take part in overseas exhibitions. Attendance at TAP events offers significant benefits: ? possibilities for business opportunities both at the show and in the future ? a chance to assess new markets and develop useful contacts ? grants are available if you meet the criteria ? UKTI staff overseas will be available to assist delegates Find out if you are eligible to apply to attend this event, and more about the support UKTI can offer, on the UKTI Market Entry web page. Details of TAP events can be found in the Events portlet on the [country] page. Other Market Visit Support may be available via your local International Trade Advisor. CONTACT LISTS Peter Mueller Regula Hofer Trade Attaché Senior Project Manager Trade & Investment British Embassy British Embassy Thunstrasse 50 Thunstrasse 50 CH-3005 Berne CH-3005 Berne Tel: +41 (0)31 359 7728 Tel: +41 (0)31 359 7742 Fax: +41 (0)31 359 7701 Fax: +41 (0)31 359 7701 UKTI?s International Trade Advisers can provide you with essential and impartial advice on all aspects of international trade. Every UK region also has dedicated sector specialists who can provide advice tailored to your industry. You can trace your nearest advisor by entering your postcode into the Local Office Database on the homepage of our website. For new and inexperienced exporters, our Passport to Export process will take you through the mechanics of exporting. An International Trade Adviser will provide professional advice on a range of services, including financial subsidies, export documentation, contacts in overseas markets, overseas visits, translating marketing material, e-commerce, subsidised export training and market research. Page 7 of 7
Posted: 06 October 2010