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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Reader question: What are the rules if I travel to France via Switzerland?

As the ski season continues many travellers will be coming to the French Alps and often the most convenient route is to fly into Geneva and then cross the border into France - but what does this mean for travel rules?

Reader question: What are the rules if I travel to France via Switzerland?

Question: I will be flying into Geneva with my family and then travelling to a ski resort in France, but I’m confused about whether I have to follow the French travel rules or the Swiss one, or both?

Both France and Switzerland have relaxed their travel rules in recent days, but they do not have the same requirements.

Technically, anyone entering France from an orange list country (including the UK, USA and Canada) via Switzerland must follow the French entry rules for their country of origin, unless they have been in Switzerland for the previous 14 days. In reality the Franco-Swiss border, being a Schengen border, is very lightly policed and travellers are rarely asked for paperwork – that doesn’t mean that it never happens though. 

Into Switzerland – Switzerland has just announced the end of all its travel rules, so you no longer need to show proof of vaccination at the border or fill in an entry form.

Into France – France has relaxed some of its travel rules, but others remain in place.

Fully vaccinated – France still requires proof of vaccination at the border, and you also need to complete a declaration stating that you do not have Covid symptoms, find that HERE.

Not vaccinated – If you’re not vaccinated there are different rules depending on whether you are travelling from an EU or Schengen zone country (including Switzerland) or from outside the EU. Technically, if you’re just passing through Switzerland you should follow the rules for the country of origin.

If you’re not vaccinated and coming from the EU/Schengen zone you need to show a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours (if a PCR test) or 48 hours if you’re using an antigen test.

READ ALSO Can I use a lateral flow test to travel to France?

If you’re not vaccinated and coming from an orange list country, you cannot travel to France unless your trip is essential. You can find the full list of accepted reasons HERE, but it does not include skiing holidays. 


The French testing and vaccine rules apply to all children aged 12 and over, however unvaccinated children over 12 can travel if they are accompanied by fully vaccinated adults.

Vaccine pass

If you decide to stop off in Switzerland you won’t need to show a vaccine pass since the rules were scrapped on February 17th. Masks are also no longer required in the majority of indoor spaces.

Once you get to France, however, the rules are a lot stricter.

The vaccine pass is required for entry to a wide range of venues including bars and cafés, for ski lifts and to access long-distance transport such as TGV trains.

EXPLAINED How France’s vaccine pass works

Children aged 12-15 need a health pass, while those aged 15 and over need a vaccine pass – full details HERE.

For adults, a booster may be required in order to get a valid vaccine pass – full details HERE.

Masks are required in all indoor public spaces, including public transport. The mask rule relaxes on February 28th, but they will still be required after this date in shops and on public transport – full details HERE.

The France-Switzerland border is once again fully open after crossings were limited during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021.