Partial revision of customs legislation

The Federal Department of Finance (FDF) has announced its intention to revise the Swiss Customs Act of 18 March 2005. SIAA objects to the proposed regulations as they would have a negative impact on duty-free shopping and air freight business at airports.

New regulations on open customs warehouses and duty-free warehouses

The airport operators can appreciate the intentions of the government in relation to the storage of domestic goods in duty-free warehouses and customs warehouses. However, it should not be forgotten that airports operate duty-free sales outlets. Sales of duty-free products to passengers flying abroad and ones returning from abroad are an important part of their commercial operations on which many jobs depend.

Attractive duty-free offering

Particularly products made in Switzerland enhance the range of goods offered at airport duty-free stores and represent an attractive offering of specifically Swiss goods for passengers from abroad. The airport operators fear that these products will become more expensive as a consequence of the new regulations or may even be withdrawn altogether from the range of goods offered by duty-free store operators. This would diminish the range of goods offered at Swiss airports and reduce the attractiveness of duty-free shops. Swiss airports are seeking to set high standards not only in the quality of their infrastructure, but also in the quality of the services they provide.

Air freight important for airports

Another key commercial factor for airports is air freight. A third of all exports from Switzerland and a sixth of its imports – by value – leave or arrive in Switzerland by air. Air freight is therefore not only vitally important for airports, it also underpins the entire foreign trade economy of Switzerland. The airport operators would like to express their view – even if they are not directly affected by the revision of customs legislation – that the changes to the law must not have any negative consequences for the air freight sector.

Transfer of policing responsibilities to Swiss Border Guard

The airport operators welcome the fact that all the cantons have agreed to transfer responsibility for policing to the customs administration and Swiss Border Guard. However, it is important that this does not result in additional costs for Swiss airports. The airports are operating in a climate of fierce competition with other European airports and must be able to use their resources to invest in high-quality infrastructure.