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.
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.