In order to react to low traffic, Zürich (LSZH) IFR radar traffic control can now be handled by a single air traffic controller.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought along some changes in the environment of the control tower at Zurich airport. The roster plans were revised and reduced several times in order to react to the decline in traffic and to enable "social distancing". The physical separation between the control tower in Zurich and the common Instrument Flight Rule room (CIR) in Wangen prevented us from reducing the number of Air Traffic Controllers further and from exploiting synergies. As a result, a total of five to six workplaces still had to be occupied simultaneously for less than 80 IFR aircraft movements per day.

In normal situation, the approach control usually happens in the CIR in Wangen/Dübendorf. There are 5 working positions where at least 2 of them must always be manned. In busy times, all 5 are manned. However, during exceptional situations where the traffic is low, a transfer of approach control service functions to the Zurich control Tower is permitted.


Due to the COVID-19 situation, a reserve workstation in the Zurich control Tower has been converted in a way that allows a single air traffic controller to handle radar traffic control, which allows for the release of all approach control service positions in the CIR at this time. This could not have been achieved without the great efforts and very good cooperation between skyguide’s technical and operational experts over the past few weeks. Since practically all systems – radios, radar screens, telephone, and network – had to be adapted, various skyguide specialists have joined forces to make this conversion possible while meeting the highest safety standards.


Thanks to this additional workstation in the tower, traffic can now be handled with three to four open workstations and the air traffic controllers who work on the additional workstations can provide assistance at any time if necessary.