FOCA decides to increase separation of take offs RWY 16 and possible go-arounds RWY 14
The Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA) has decided that, for security reasons, the separation of the take offs on the northern runway 16 and possible go-arounds on the second northern runway 14 has to be increased as of tomorrow, October 2, 2004. The separation will be increased from 6 to 8 miles, when the departing aircraft is heading eastwards, and to 12 miles when it’s heading westwards.
This regulation, which becomes effective as of tomorrow, may have negative consequences for the passengers: Daily, between 10.00 a.m. and 12.00 a.m., approximately 10 long haul flights might be subject to major delays of up to 90 minutes. As a result, passengers may miss their connecting flights. Furthermore, during the same period, arrival delays of up to 20 minutes might occur. It is unfortunate that the new regulation needs to be implemented just at the beginning of the autumn holidays, the period of the year with the highest traffic volume. It is also regrettable that the recent success in reducing delays will probably be thwarted.
The airport operator understands the security order imposed by the FOCA, but would have appreciated a risk analysis based on substantiated facts for this new regulation. As the procedure is not evaluated, there are no analysis results. Therefore, Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) has ordered an evaluation of different possible procedures by a foreign accredited institution. Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) expects the results by the end of the year. Along with all affected partners, Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) is actively looking for solutions that ensure the capacity and reliability requested by passengers as well as the adherence to safety rules. In the next few hours and during the weekend, Unique (Flughafen Zürich AG) will take up a current evaluation and, wherever possible, make operational adjustments in order to reduce the anticipated negative effects for passengers. On Monday, Unique (Zürich Flughafen AG) will be able to inform about the actual consequences.