Connected by the Skymetro

The construction of Dock E was a key component of the fifth building phase. The building is 500 metres long and 24 metres wide and is located between the three take-off and landing runways. It allows up to 27 planes to be handled at the same time, and includes two stands for Airbus A380 long-haul aircraft.

Passengers can reach Dock E easily by taking the Skymetro from the Airside Center. The journey of around three minutes crosses under runway 10/28 before terminating on the basement level of Dock E. When it was built, the Skymetro was the only one of its kind at European airports. This kind of passenger transport was previously only found at Cincinnati and Tokyo airports. The carriages are equipped with air cushions instead of wheels and are pulled by a cable. The air compressions raise the carriages by 0.2 millimetres and thus ensure a practically vibration-free journey.

Dock E has four floors. The ground floor of the building houses the baggage sorting system and other operations rooms. The first floor is reserved for arriving passengers, while the second is for departures. The top floor contains lounges and observation deck E.

The “Zayetta” design team is named after the Valais German word for grasshopper – a reference to the building’s architecture that, with its 27 passenger bridges, looks a bit like an insect on the floor plan. The glass facade provides passengers with a clear view of the surrounding countryside and the apron. During construction, only a few very high-quality materials were used. The finished exposed concrete, metal structure and Italian terrazzo floors create a modern, minimalist design. The planned photovoltaic system on the roof and the use of the foundation piles for energy generation were also pioneering at the time of project planning in 1996. Both installations served as templates for future projects at the airport and in Switzerland. The metal structure provides shade and closes off the building structure at the top.

Dock E