Should flights between Zurich and Geneva be discontinued?

A new proposal seeks to end flights between Switzerland's largest cities. What do you think?

A Swiss air plane sits on the tarmac in Zurich. Photo: MICHAEL BUHOLZER / AFP
A Swiss air plane sits on the tarmac in Zurich. What do you think the rules should be about internal flights? Photo: MICHAEL BUHOLZER / AFP

The short-haul flights between Switzerland’s two international airports have been popular before the pandemic, and still continue to operate, though with reduced number of flights.

They are used mainly by transit passengers connecting to international airports from Zurich and Geneva.

However, delegates at the annual youth session of the parliament now underway in Bern are calling for the discontinuation of the air service, arguing that the 270-km, 30-minute flight leaves a huge carbon footprint, and passengers should travel between the two airports by train.

The Youth Plenum pointed out that 38 percent of emissions in Switzerland are due to transport. 

This argument was already brought up in 2019 by Green and socialist MPs, but the Federal Council responded, then and now, that if these internal flights were to be banned, passengers would not be travelling 3.5 hours by train but connect at other European hubs like Frankfurt or London, which would be detrimental to the environment as well.

The topic of taxing or otherwise restricting internal flights in Switzerland has been regularly considered in Switzerland, with Swiss MPs in 2019 deciding to tax flights. 

READ MORE: `Swiss MPs vote for eco-friendly flight tax

A flight between Zurich and Geneva takes roughly 30 minutes from take-off to landing. This compares to a train journey of just over two and a half hours, or three hours and 15 minutes by car. 

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Switzerland proposes travellers pay for Covid boosters

Under a new plan put forth by the Swiss government, anyone who needs a booster shot for travel abroad should pay for it out of pocket.

Switzerland proposes travellers pay for Covid boosters

While Covid shots were previously free for everyone in Switzerland, with the Swiss government picking up the tab, the country has been reluctant to issue a recommendation for a second booster.

As The Local reported on Monday, this means that many people’s most recent shot will soon be more than nine months ago, which is the date at which many Covid passes expire. 

READ MORE: What will Switzerland do about the ‘millions’ of expiring Covid certificates?

Although evidence of vaccination is not required domestically in Switzerland any more, it may pose issues in travel. 

Since many countries still require a vaccination certificate for entry, and as the second round of boosters is not yet available in Switzerland, this means that a large number of people may not be able to travel abroad.

Swiss health authorities: Travellers should pay for Covid boosters themselves

According to newest recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), people travelling abroad who need second booster doses must pay for the shots themselves.

As the fourth vaccine dose is currently recommended only for people with a severely weakened immune system, everyone outside of this group will be charged as yet undefined fee.

The proposal was sent to the cantons for consultation until June 1st.

If agreed on, the Federal Council will adjust the Epidemics Ordinance accordingly on June 10th.